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More Necessary Conversation

October 16, 2008

As I mentioned in the previous post, I recently attended the Care Net conference in Atlanta. Care Net’s Director of Urban Center Development invited me to participate in a special “summit” held specifically for Black pastors, their wives, and people active in the pro-life movement. We were there to talk about the need for the pastors to speak out regarding the affect of abortion on the Black community, and to see how we can come alongside them as they begin the conversation in their own churches. This seems logical. The flaws in the Black church notwithstanding, most people will still admit the huge influence clergy wield in our communities, so it makes sense to seek their help in reaching our people. But unfortunately, this is not an easy sell. That’s what has me scratching my head, and writing this post.

Since when should anyone have to persuade and convince pastors to speak out against a behavior clearly not condoned by scripture and so obviously wreaking havoc on our families?  Isn’t that part and parcel of what pastors do? They are supposed to be the reliable truth-tellers of our culture, drawing men and women not to a political party, ideology, or {gasp} themselves, but to the unchanging, life-transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have historically looked to them as procalimers of the Word of God, and as attentive, caring undershepherds who steer their flocks off the wide way onto the narrow. But things have changed.

Rather than the pastors leading the way in identifying and dealing with sin, they are at the back of the pack, dragging their feet while abortion, domestic violence, and all kinds of sexual sin spread through our community like undiagnosed cancer. Rather than ‘movements’ bringing issues to them, begging for support and involvement, pastors should be inciting a holy revolution against the encroachment of the world’s philosophies and empty rhetoric into our places of worship, and into our bodily temples where the Spirit of the Lord Himself resides. We desperately need our pastors to function again in their sacred calling. Tell us to stop sleeping with each other’s husbands, wives, and children. Tell the young people that they actually can live a holy life without being dominated by unbridled lust and desire for physical pleasure. Pull the men aside and tell them their responsiblility to be protectors, providers, and priests in their home. Absolutely insist that worship leaders and choir directors not be active, unapologetic homosexuals. Counsel the young women about the awesome privilege it is to bear children, and help them see that taking the life of their child is not the answer to what’s really ailing them. But don’t stop with the telling. We also need Black pastors to show with their lives the truth, beauty, and worth of living a life committed to the Person and teachings of Jesus.  

This conversation about sin isn’t just for the pew, it’s for the pulpit first becuase sin not uprooted in the pulpit will run wild in the pews. Sin deceives us and distorts our perspectives so that what should be summarily put down is unashamedly lifted up. The church is silent on abortion and other problems because our pastors are silent. If we can restore the voice of our spiritual gatekeepers, sin will silence us no more.

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