Preaching and Violence
David Goatly writes:
Relevant preaching today must confront directly the pervasive violence that infects the world. Relevant preaching for African American life must unapologetically challenge violence that is experienced within and inflicted from without their communities.
There is much talk today about relevant preaching. Often such “relevant” preaching is simply stroking the ego of the American middles class. Something is wrong with preaching that says nothing about the abuse of children that is going on in its walls and yet shouts and jumps around about the Santa Clause in the sky who delivers jobs, houses, and cars to those who are already consuming more than they need.
Something is wrong with the picture of a predatory preacher who uses the pastorate to take advantage of the parishioners and the pulpit to silence anyone who has anything to say about it.
Silence is complicit with evil
As we say nothing….We are complicit in the downward spiral. When we rush to defend the popular but guilty pulpiteer while quickly silencing the woman who has been wronged, we are complicit in the violence that is overtaking our world. When we don’t even attempt to challenge the violence we simply allow the violence to continue. It is time to get past the preaching about nothing. It is time to get past the preaching about a false God while the true God has no defenders.
Enough is Enough
It is time to say, Enough is enough. My fellow preachers. We cannot simply look at the violence going on in our churches and continue to say, by our silence, that the Gospel has nothing to say about it. It is time for the church to stop standing up with the perpetrators of violence while the victims sit in silence. It is time for the church to stop sweeping the misconduct of its leaders under the rug while condemning those who have the nerve to call it into question by calling them unforgiving, unloving, or Pharisaical. It is time for the church to stop allowing itself to be silenced by the Devil.
This coming week, let us attempt to see what the real God who confronts evil in individuals and in structures has to say to your people. It is time to see what the real Gospel has to say to individual and corporate sin. It is time to see what real Grace can do to real sinners. Stop preaching what sounds good and start preaching what is good. Stop preaching what will get a shout and start preaching what will make God shout. If we do this then they will say about us what they said about those who began the Christian movement. They will call us trouble makers. And to be honest…we will be…trouble makers to the status quo of violence and wickedness, and evil. Come be a trouble maker and stop “eloquently saying nothing!”