Thursday, April 04, 2013

St. John's Easter Sermon

Since there were some remarks regarding the Easter Service that our president attended along with those who followed him, I thought it might be fun to listen to this.  The preacher was Dr. Luis Leon of Saint John's Episcopal Church in Washington.  The sermon only lasted about 15 minutes, which is about half to one third of the length that typical sermons require in the churches I am familiar with.

The theme of Dr. Leon's talk was that of letting go of the past.  This is something that I believe in as well, but there were a few missing steps.  That is, the message of Christianity is 1) Acknowledge sins, 2) Repent, 3) Seek a new relationship with God through Jesus Christ and 4) let go of the past.  Steps one through three are all skipped in Dr. Leon's version.

Looking at step 4), however, things get more interesting.  In Christianity, we are supposed to let go of our sinful past to live a new life leading to holiness.  We are to forgive others because God forgave us.  For Dr. Leon, we are letting go of the pain that we experienced as victims.  Sin isn't something that we have to deal with, except as it exists in other who annoy us.  And transform into what?.  The lecture transformed into rants about those conservatives who want blacks to stay in the back of the bus, immigrants to stay on the other side of the border, ...  Having just seen a bus driving along empty, the "letting go" metaphor might be more appropriate for Dr. Leon.  Today's bus is empty so a black can sit in any seat she wants except the driver seat.  This conservative has both married an immigrant and been an immigrant.  The black community has been given everything conceivable to help them succeed, except for the most important thing:  Healthy families according to God's design.  The country can't absorb immigrants when leftists are deliberately destroying the economy.  When are leftist pastors going to "let go" of leftover leftist rhetoric inherited from earlier ages?

Of course the theme was a broader one of letting go of the moral traditions and theological truths of the past and embracing what is new. This leaves me wondering if there is any religion or philosophical system - other than Silicon Valley culture - that really honors the new just because it is new.  The Bible teaches us "there is no new thing under the sun" - Ecclesiastes 1:9.  Most of the classical philosophical systems embraced a circle or repeated patterns.  Other religions assert the repetition of things as well. From what source does Dr. Leon get his sanctification of the new for the sake of newness?  And is dumping traditional morality (i.e. natural virtue, per the philosophers) for unnatural relations really anything new?

But as the Bible says:  "Not many of you should become teachers,  my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly" - James 3:1.  And so I too must start with being careful about what I teach and study hard to make sure that I have my facts correct and double and triple checked.

1 comment:

Delirious said...

Well, you have your facts about repentance correct. :)

Maybe they think of the Bible the way liberals think of the Constitution? Maybe they think of it as a "living" document that should change with time. I am greatly saddened by how modern Christianity veers so greatly from what Jesus taught.