Owatonna United Methodist Church
Sunday, August 25, 2019
Connecting Caring Learning Serving


 From Pastor Loren Olson

At one time in our nation’s history, religious leaders defended the morality of enslavement of Africans and mistreatment of indigenous peoples by arguing theologically that they were less human than white people.  To admit that they were fully human would mean that we would have to confess that we were not living up to our Judeo-Christian principles in our relations with them.  Our society still seems to be infected by the sin those actions planted in our culture.  Politicians still play on racial issues to manipulate the vote.  Our president often makes statements that are racially insensitive, leading to a rebuke from national and world leaders.  I don’t expect a lot from political leaders.  As a reflection of the narcissism rampant in our culture, we do not have many courageous leaders left for whom the country is more important than keeping their jobs. What concerns me as a serious Christian is that when some Christian leaders are asked if our leader’s statements are racist or divisive, they say that the words don’t matter or that they aren’t that important compared to the policies they like.


Christian leaders more than anybody else should understand the scripture when it says, “The tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body…” (James 3:6) “If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless.” (James 1:26) “Rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing…Truthful lips last forever, but a lying tongue lasts only for a moment.” (Prov. 12:18-19)


Words matter.  The character of our speech matters.  Christians can disagree about tax policy, how much should be invested in defense and how much in social programs, or immigration policies.  I don’t think God’s cares a bit whether Republicans or Democrats are in power as long as “Justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:24) But I think God does care if Christians publicly stand up and say that racially insensitive speech does not concern them, because it must.  It’s a fiery sword that burns deeper divisions in the family of God’s humanity instead of breeding healing and reconciliation. If we are going to be honest to God, we need to call a sin a sin, even if we see some of it in our own thoughts and attitudes.  Christian’s must speak God’s wisdom and truth.


I hope that you will say and hear good words this week that uplift and never tear down.  I’ll see you in church….