Summary: The Word of God calls us to a brotherhood and sisterhood that transcends our differences. This sermon addresses three "ism’s" that work against God’s Kingdom: Racism, Sexism and Classism

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Sermon for CATM – February 17, 2008 “Repenting of Racism, Sexism, Classism”

James 2:1-6; Galatians 3:26-28

What thoughts come to mind as you look at this photograph? [Photo is of 9 red gummy-bears standing separate and apart from one green gummy-bear.

What’s going on here?

What are the figures in the circle thinking? [This guy’s different; why is he a different colour? Why is she not the same as us; others seem to feel the same way; should we eat it?]

What is the figure in the middle thinking? [Why are they surrounding me? I feel pretty uneasy here; why are they all pink? Where are my friends? Are they going to eat me? I wish I was at home in bed]

Have you ever felt this way? Out of place. In the wrong place at the wrong time. In the minority? Surrounded by difference and the unfamiliar? Perhaps the object of derision? Perhaps a victim

Today we’re going to be looking at three different things…three “ism’s”.

Racism. Sexism. Classism. The reason for this is that, even though compared to our southern neighbours we may feel, as Canadians, that we are pretty much ok regarding these three words…the reason is that these “ism’s” exist in our country, in our province, in our city, in our neighbourhood and, shockingly perhaps, even here…in us.

Now we probably think of ourselves as a pretty tolerant people. Canada prides itself on its diversity. Since the days of Pierre Trudeau Canadians have valued the fact that we’re a multicultural society. We’re multi-ethnic, multi-language, multi-faith, multi-everything people.

There was an ad recently in the newspaper of a middle-eastern country that had encouraged radical fundamentalists to kill a Canadian. An Australian dentist, in response wrote the following to help define what a Canadian is, so they would know one when they found one.

A Canadian can be English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian, Jamaican, Romanian or Greek.

A Canadian can be Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, from the Islands, Korean, Guinean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, Arab, Pakistani or Afghan.

A Canadian may also be a Cree, Metis, Mohawk, Blackfoot, Sioux, or one of the many other tribes known as native Canadians. A Canadian’s religious beliefs range from Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or none.

So, apparently, Canada is a pretty diverse country. Yet in all of our diversity I want to suggest that we are not immune from these three “ism’s”, among others.

Let me ask you: What is racism?

[The belief that differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.]

What is sexism? [Discrimination or devaluation based on a person’s sex, as in restricted job opportunities; esp., such discrimination directed against women].

What is classism? [a biased or discriminatory attitude based on distinctions made between social or economic classes.]

So these are biases. Prejudices. Boxes that we put people in. Decisions that we make about people before we know them…based on what they wear, what kind of money they have, or based on the colour of their skin and based on being male or female.

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