Sermon Illustrations

Gov Pritzker (Illinois) gave the 2023 Commencement Address at North Eastern University

"… Whenever we see someone who doesn't look like us, or sound like us, or act like us or love like us, or live like us - the first thought that crosses almost everyone's brain is rooted in either fear or judgment or both.

That's evolution.

We survived as a species by being suspicious of things that we aren't familiar with.

In order to be kind we have to shut down that animal instinct and force our brain to travel a different pathway.

Empathy and compassion are evolved states of being - they require the mental capacity to step past our most primal urges.

This may be a surprising assessment because somewhere along the way in the last few years our society is come to believe that weaponized cruelty is part of some well thought out master plan.

Cruelty is seen by some as an adroit cudgel to gain power. Empathy and kindness are considered weak

Many important people look at the vulnerable only as rungs on a ladder to the top

…I'm here to tell you that when someone's path through this world is marked with acts of cruelty they have failed the first test of an advanced society - they never forced their animal brain to evolve past its first instinct - they never forged new mental pathways to overcome their own instinctual fears and so their thinking and problem solving will lack the imagination and creativity that the kindest people have.

So the governor blames the problems of society on evolution and then asks us to force more evolution upon ourselves as the solution.

Scripture offers a different understanding of human nature - we are made in the image of God - and so we all have dignity and compassion. Yet we are all fallen, sinful creatures who need to be "born again" - to have Christ change us from the inside. Evolution isn't the problem - or the solution. Christ is the solution.

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