Summary: This sermon deals with our 2nd Anniversary celebration and the changes in our society during that 2 year period in terms of abortion, religious freedom, and riots over police actions. The church is challenged to become a church of generosity and grace.
Daring To Commit
Today we celebrate our 2nd anniversary as a church. We thank God for what God has done in and through us. Lives have been changed, people have been touched, the gospel has been preached, and Jesus Christ has been lifted up.
But the place we are in morally and ethically as a society has shifted dramatically during those two years. We came together as a church to be a beacon of light for God in a world that gets increasingly darker without even knowing it.
Since we came together there have been riots in our streets over police officers who have killed unarmed civilians. Our media builds up a frenzy over a white cop killing a black man. We have demanded that officers be held to a higher standard. Demonstrations were planned all over the country. Sometimes that is justified, but there are other times when we need to demand that individuals respect the authority of the police.
Where were the demonstrations over the two police officers killed in New York sitting in the cars, or the deputy Darren GoForth who was shot in the back and head 15 times while putting gas in his car. Should not our outrage go in both directions. Should we not be angry at the looters who destroyed the business of innocent people who had nothing to do with any shootings.
We are fed the lies that the real enemy of unarmed black males is the police. I don’t know how many of you read the article in the Plain Dealer by Phillip Morris, but he wrote that from 1882-1951, a period of 69 year, 3400 blacks were lynched by whites who took the law into their own hands. But in one year, in 2013, over 6200 blacks were murdered mainly by other black men.
Last week we added five year old Ramon Burnett to that list. He was a five year old tossing a football less than 10 minutes from our church. A bullet ended his life because two teens were shooting at each other and both missed. Yet instead of helping to get rid of this dangerous element of killers in our society, we teach there is some pride in being able to say, “I’m no snitch.”
Two years ago, one of the highest constitutional guarantees we had was freedom of religion with a government unwilling to force you to believe what it wanted you to believe. I told you in a sermon, the real issue of homosexual marriage was not on whether or not they should be able to marry. The real issue would be whether the Supreme Court would uphold religious freedom or not. The Gay movement has not been about love and acceptance. It has been about endorsing a behavior.
We have now exalted sexual expression above all other rights in our constitution. Freedom of speech has been limited by your ability to say certain things about the behavior of the GLBTQ and so one movement. If you are a teacher and you say, boys should not be allowed in the girls bathrooms and locker-room, you can lose your job for being insensitive.
In Missouri 150 students walked out of school in protest of a guy who claims to be a girl demanded to be able to use the girls locker room. The school offered him a transgendered bathroom, but he declined the offer. What about the girls right to privacy?
The media rewrites history right before our eyes. Kim Davis is a Christian who issues marriage licenses in her job as clerk in the county office. When the Supreme Court issued its ruling on same sex marriage, she stopped issuing marriage licenses. The press wants you to believe she refused to issue a license only to gays and lesbians. The reality is she refused to issue any licenses so that it could not be seen as discriminatory.
Kentucky has a Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration Act which gives accommodations to people to keep them from violating their religious beliefs. What she was asking for, was to have her name removed off the marriage license and someone else’s name be placed there. How difficult could that be?
If prisons have to make accommodations for prisoners religious beliefs such as some prisons are required by the courts to provide food consistent with their religious dietary laws, , why shouldn’t she be given the accommodation of having someone else’s name on the license instead of her name? Instead she was thrown into jail until she would issue the license with her name on it. She stayed in jail for five days.
The ironic thing is at the time she was being thrown into jail for standing on her biblical views of homosexual behavior, there was a ceremony going on in the PCUSA headquarters chapel celebrating its first gay marriage in the chapel. The minister leading the service said, ““No biblical writer would have envisioned what we think of as a good marriage today.” At least that was an honest statement that what he was doing had nothing to do with being faithful to the Bible.