Saturday, June 14, 2008

You Be The Judge On: "The Accuracy Of The Discourse"

A recent letter to the editor in USA Today compels me to comment. Though the context of the letter (and the issue which prompted the letter writer to submit it) is political, I will not address the political issues involved. What I will say is that the article that prompted the letter dealt with recent sermonizing by Michael Pfleger and Jeremiah Wright at Barack Obama's (former) 20-year home church -- Trinity United Church of Christ.

The letter writer defends the speeches made by these two pastors as being uncontroversial because many of us simply don't understand the context in which they were given. I'm sure most have heard excerpts from these speeches so I won't dwell on the content. I will let readers judge the content for themselves. But listen to the justification for these speeches as given by one who sees nothing particularly wrong with them:
During a sermon when the church minister ... is "in the spirit" -- an emotional state considered by the minister to be inspired by God -- his or her expressions about biblical men such as David or Moses or even in reference to the United States might shock [other] congregations. For [our] parishioners, the accuracy of the clergyman's discourse is secondary to the recognized reality conveyed by the emotion of the moment.
Got it?

The actual truth concerning what the preacher says from the pulpit is not as important as the emotion he/she conveys in delivering it.

If you want to know where some of the problems with the culture, and with a church (in general) that tries its best to reflect that culture, begin you don't have to look much farther than this. When truth takes a back seat to emotional intensity, what basis to we have to judge anything? This is the danger in touting an emotion-driven "spirituality" that seems so popular today. No standards. No truth ... No problem. It rouses the crowds, who come back for more and more "emotional moments," and so it goes.

When you live in a postmodern culture; when you accept the consequences of moral relativism; and when you pander to a feelings-based, consumer-driven mindset -- this is what you get. The sad thing is that many (most?) of USA Today's readers probably think the letter writer was being quite profound.

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