Unpopular Opinions for August 26th, 2017

1. What good is a 20 minute sermon on loving one’s neighbor (or other specifics of Jesus’ teachings) when many in our congregations have spent Monday to Friday as disciples of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity learning a vocabulary of fear and reasons to despise others?

2. After hours of daily radio broadcasts plus television with Tucker Carlson in the evening, how can the church of Jesus Christ present a different way to look at reality when so many people attend the Church of Fox News (and its offshoots)? Jesus, preachers, and mainline Christianity can’t do it.  We’ve lost this battle.

3. A Christian worldview contrasts from a Sean, Rush, Tucker, Fox News, or Breitbart worldview. A Christian worldview is incompatible with most of the dominant American consumerist culture.

4. Here’s the answer to the first question; it does no good. If our sermons don’t echo sentiments or reinforce ideas in line with what millions of people are hearing from their weekday Sunday School lessons from Rush or Sean, people will leave our churches and take their money.  It’s already happening. It goes by other names (opposition homosexual clergy and gay marriage) but this is what we’re witnessing. Jesus following isn’t a popularity contest.  We can’t argue with people who are convinced they’ll be waving to us from Heaven on our way to Hell.

5. Will those who remain in our churches do the hard work of preaching the Good News or just complain about their neighbors? I’m not certain. Jesus was willing to die. Memes are far easier to post.

6.  Love is hard.  We can love harder.  Be a living sermon.

Richard Lowell Bryant

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Food for Thought-The Exile Returns (also known as “What if Shakespeare Met the Jeffersons)

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The Exile Returns (AKA What if Shakespeare Met the Jeffersons) 

Sometime near 9:00 am on the east coast of the United States, or so the clock says.  The talking heads on the television seem hell bent on convincing me to be concerned about the upcoming game this afternoon  between America’s football team and the seemingly invincible Germans.  I need to be taking off work, into this, and cheering my country on, do I?  I’ve been in a football mad country for two years and no one insisted I cheer for anyone.  Football, like air conditioning, was an ever prevalent optional extra.

Was it always this hot here?  Perhaps I grew soft in the wilds of the Irish north?  I think the phrase “like a ton of bricks” would be an understatement.  It will take some getting used to.  My sleep is still way off, as it is want to be when returning this direction.  I’ve had much time to reflect in the darkness.  These thoughts came to mind.  What if William Shakespeare had written the them song to the hit 70’s television show “The Jeffersons“?

Upward, we move,

towards the eastern side,

in unexpected grandeur skyward,

upward, we move,

towards the eastern side,

to dine, to relish, our cosmic pie.

Fish are no longer prepared in your kitchen,

beans have ceased to boil in your kettle,

toil, toil, strain, and trouble,

to ascend this cursed hill,

we have arrived at the castle gates,

fate has beset ourselves with this moment,

whilst we breathe, you and I shall never part,

what evil can be judged of us?

Upward, we move,

towards the eastern side,

in unexpected grandeur skyward,

upward, we move,

towards the eastern side,

to dine, to relish, our cosmic pie.

–Richard Bryant

 

Food for Thought-An Ode to Uncertainty

An Ode to Uncertainty

I sing of uncertainty,
of constant questioning,
the physical embrace of doubt,
a rejection of surety,
and to condemn the fools who’ve figured life out.

I sing not of walking in my shoes,
but going barefoot each day, I choose,
life without knowing the certain place,
from where might arrive my saving grace,
will there be money for water or coal to burn?
Who could help you in the economic downturn?

Each day on the telly, I’m told things are better,
but up to now, I have yet to receive my upturn letter.
Am I blind and dumb to the world’s unfolding collage,
the shuttered textile factory next door is surely a mirage.

For nothing is as it seems, in the land of the Queen,
Cameron, and Coronation Street in the year 2014.

–Richard Bryant