Preaching the Sermon on the Mount: The World It Imagines is not only a great book and help at preaching the texts you can loose your job over, but an appropriate read in the middle of the political party platforming. Listening to both parties each night has made me confident that the church really needs to quit outsourcing its vocation. When I got to my office this morning I realized I forgot the books I have been reading, so I picked up this one and re-read the article by Warren Carter (you should listen to his podcast) where he asks some questions that should have been asked at both conventions and are being skirted at best. Here are Carter’s questions:
What does it mean to be…..
– rich Christians in an age of hunger?
– well fed Christians in an age of poverty?
– vacation-homed Christians in an age of homelessness
– overclothed Christians in an age of nakedness
– highly entertained Christians in an age of militaristic violence?
-Sermon-on-the-Mount-shaped Christians in our age of empire?
The emphasis needs to fall on ‘Christians’ in these questions, because Jesus is calling, challenging, transforming, and empowering his disciples to wrestle and respond to these questions. In a democracy I am pretty sure political responsibility includes voting and being involved in that process, but I could be wrong about that. What I am confident about is that the church is too culturally relevant to make much of a difference. We are as busy, distracted, over-committed, over-extended, covetous, fear-driven, and scared of opting out of the dominant cultures’ pattern of life to actually be the difference, witness, and disciple Jesus calls us to be.