Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sermon: Pentecost 10 - Year B

“Are you a Catholic priest?”

“No, I’m a Lutheran pastor,” I replied.

“Here, I think you need this,” he said, handing me a pamphlet, before quickly walking away.

I looked down and saw the title. “The Gift” and it told the story of a Catholic priest who“journeyed from darkness to light by reading the scriptures." It was Anti-Catholic religious bigotry.

It turned out this guy was worried that I didn’t have the “personal relationship with Jesus” that was required, I didn’t say the sinner’s prayer, I didn’t use the words that he thought I should. He was worried for my eternal destiny. Yet he couldn’t stop to tell me in person.

This was hit-and-run evangelism.

I would have found the experience funny if it weren’t so offensive. He was suggesting that Catholics and Lutherans weren’t Christians and were therefore condemned to eternal hell-fire, he was dismissing of traditional sacramental theology that has be taught in churches for two millennia, and rigorously defended the King James Bible as the only authentic word of God saying that any other translation was from the devil.

What really got my shorts in a bunch was the fact that this guy didn’t really care about me. I found his tactic – giving me a tract and running away – personally insulting. He didn’t know my name. He didn’t know what I believed. He didn’t know anything about me. He didn’t share good news with me. He threw his “good news” in my face then disappeared.

Contrast this with a friend I had in university. A long time ago, when I was in my third year undergrad I lived with a group of guys in a huge house in downtown Waterloo. We jokingly called the place “The Den of Iniquity” because of all the pizza boxes, weeks-old food, and dirty clothes strewn throughout the house. The place hadn’t seen the business end of a vacuum cleaner in years. One night, however, a housemate made the name a reality.

He met a woman in a bar one night and brought her home with him. He took her to his room and fed her rum and marijuana. When she passed out an hour later he sexually assaulted her, and then was going to drop her outside the door, on to the street, without her clothes or purse.

Me and another housemate intervened and…(read the whole thing here)

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