On March 20, 1925, an Anglican priest named Frederick Lewis Donaldson preached a sermon centering around what he called the “7 Deadly Social Evils.” Through the help of what he called a “fair friend,” Mohandas Gandhi had the opportunity to reprint the list in his weekly newspaper. A few weeks before the Mahatma’s assassination, he gave a handwritten copy of the list to his grandson, Arun Gandhi. It was Arun Gandhi that brought the list to the world, publishing it after his grandfather’s death under the heading “Seven Blunders of the World.”
I was recently injured while making popcorn. True story. A stray kernel decided to pop within the fluffy confines of the bowl instead of in the popper — hardly unusual. But this one sent a piece of hot bran straight into my right eyelid. If I had that eye wide open at the time, it could have done serious damage. As it was, I only had nagging pain for a couple of days — a small price to pay for a good story, I say.
Thank you for being here today. You had options. There are churches all over, offering all sorts of incentives and enticements. For instance, the Castle Church Brewing Community in Orlando bills itself as “Orlando’s newest destination brewery.” If you are asking yourself, “Is that what it sounds like?”, the answer is yes. They actually brew, sell and drink beer. Not in the actual assembly, mind you — at least, not as far as I can tell. But immediately afterward, and pretty much any other opportunity that affords itself.
It is no wonder that a society that tells its citizens constantly that they are no better than the animals — indeed, no different from them — winds up seeing those same citizens act like animals. Why wouldn’t they? How could we reasonably expect anything else?
As Christians, we hope and expect humans to rise above the animal world. Animals can be trained, after all. Why not humans? But culture wins over holiness, time after time. And thus we see headline after headline, proclaiming in grotesque detail how degraded a culture bereft of God can become.
Enough judging a man in his 50s for an isolated incident, or even several of them, that may or may not have happened when he was a teenager.
Enough judging a woman for daring to have a smile on her face at some point in time when the most important thing in her life is her allegations of being assaulted.
Enough giving credence to everyone who supports our own preconceived values and principles. Enough dismissing and/or excoriating everyone who opposes them.
I got my eyes dilated during a recent trip to the eye doctor. On my way out they asked if I wanted some eye shades. I politely declined. And then I opened the door. Wow. It felt like someone had hit me in the face with a hammer. I went back for the shades.