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A Good Sermon

Posted by griffithd on December 7, 2017 at 11:45 AM

A few weeks ago I listened to a sermon, and one phrase has been rattling around in my brain since:

“There is right, and there is wrong, and there is no in-between.”

I will grant a combination perhaps of the Gospel and Yoda. I am good with that as I am an equal opportunity listener and enjoy a strong, solid sound bite regardless of source. Especially one that grows from a soundbite to a full meal.

The lesson here hits on a few levels.

One the simple, a conversation where the definition of right and wrong is understood, and both parties are in agreement. As in you tell the truth. You don’t steal. No middle ground.

The second not so much, where the definition of right and wrong is not so well defined or there is outright disagreement. Flows from my values are right, and yours are wrong. Think about equal rights based on gender or orientation. Who would have thought we would see a supreme court case where a business owner’s religious beliefs and a customers lifestyle would conflict to the level of a case before the highest court in the land. Easy to take a position on either side, but there are dangerous precedents either way in our system that values individual rights and freedoms. Whose rights and whose freedoms?

Clearly, we need core, fundamental, bedrock values to order one's life and frame a community legacy. Here I can see where there is no middle ground. You have integrity, or you don’t. You respect people, or you don’t. The rattle in my brain is the question of in the between issues. Is there not a middle ground on such complex topics as poverty, race, equality, economic mobility, security, opportunity?

So to quote Yoda, “ The balance where is ?”

Here, I think we turn to the core gospel teachings and covenants of many of our traditions.

“Will you respect the dignity of every human being?”

“Will you love your neighbor as yourself?”

And you turn to the lesson of muddy boots, where you go into the field and listen and learn and walk in another person's shoes and invite them to do the same. I suspect that we share universal values more than we think and that the real difference stems from places of fear, especially the fear of scarcity of power, wealth, choice, variations, and opportunity. Avoiding an issue, digging in, is not a way to solve the problem.

I love a good sermon.

Especially one that takes us to a new place.

A place we need to go.


Categories: ECS Outreach, Muddy Boots, Griffith Thoughts

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