Politics in the Pulpit

So yesterday I preached on Acts 11:1-18 (Peter’s vision that prompted him to preach to the Gentiles) and John 13:31-35 (Jesus gives the disciples a new commandment: to love one another). In it, I applied the idea of “love in action” to the new immigration law in Arizona.

I have to admit that I was very nervous bringing something political into a sermon. Mostly, I’m worried about alienating people. Ok, really, I’m worred about pissing someone off and making them leave the church. I’m not sure I want that kind of responsibility!! And yet, I feel strongly about talking about faith and I think God calls all persons to speak boldly, to speak the truths that we understand from God.

So how do we reconcile this? How can we do ministry boldly? How do we do it without driving people out of our congregation, without excluding voices that do not echo our own?

Or should we be less bold? Should we smooth out the rough places so that all persons feel welcome and at home?

This is a difficult challenge, and I don’t think for a second that I have the answers. And so I ask the community to participate in this dialogue. To be cliche for a moment, what would Jesus do? What would you do?

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