Preaching Both Sides


Olin Moyd, in The Sacred Art: Preaching and Theology in the African American Tradition writes:

African American preaching in the present and future, as in the past, has the awesome task of speaking comfort and hope to the exploited while at the same time demanding relief and justice from the exploiters as a divine mandate.

The Two Sides

Some preachers think they are done after simply preaching about hope and comfort to the weak. We preach about how God is on your side in the midst of pain and heartache and struggle. We let folks know of the truth that “though they walk through the valley of the shadow of death” that “God is with them.” We ensure that they can shout and praise God about that God is with them…

But do we also teach the truth that where God is justice is of necessity there as well? Do we take up the prophetic mandate and let all exploiters know that God is not pleased and that God will demand justice of those who exploit the weakest.

Are We Silent About Abuse?

To be more explicit, do we preach about God being with the weak, and never say anything about the abuse that is going on in our own churches? Do we by our silence continue the perpetuation of violence against women and even children? Do we allow the abuser to continue in the church office without nary a word from the pulpit?

If God is truly on the side of the weak then what will happen to us who allow known physical and mental abuse to go on in our own parish without standing for the truth? If God is truly on the side of the oppressed as our skilled Black Theologians and Black preachers have told us for so many years, what does that mean to the women who are abused?

Preach What Needs to be Preached

Simply put, our church cannot continue to speak about the racism of the predominent culture and not come face to face with our own sins…As Professor Moyd reminds us, we must have the strength to demand justice from even those abusers who sit in our own congregations, who are on the deacon’s board and maybe might be a trustee, just as surely as we preach hope for the abused…that is if we are truly preachers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ….

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Sherman Haywood Cox II

Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

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