Have you ever been told "pride comes before the fall"? Â It is one of those sayings we hear often that is attributed to the Bible but is not actually in the Bible. Â The idea is taken from Proverbs 16:8 which says, "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall" (KJV). Â Taking hold of this verse, fourth century monk Evagrius Ponticus used it to declare pride as one of the "seven deadly sins," thus beginning a 1,600-year Christian belief that pride was sinful.
Today I made a mistake, a major mistake. I was working from home tonight and needed to send an email to the whole church. Being at home, I did not have access to the all church email. So, I came up with what I thought was a solution. I looked at my sent emails, found one I had previously sent to the whole church, and used that to send out the email I need to send tonight. However, I did not change the subject line. Which normally would not be that big of an issue. After I hit send I realized that the email I chose to use as the template was sent to announce the passing of a beloved church member. I felt the floor drop out from under me. I felt sick and shamed.
If the Bible is the word of God it has to be relevant to us today.Â If it is not relevant, itâ€™s not the word of God.Â We can take the ancient text of the Bible, place it in its historic and literary contact and then lean forward and see how it may apply today.Â This is the beauty of our sacred text, it is why it has stood the test of time.
As Holy week comes to a close, we continue our journey from the palm parade to the cross.Â Jesus has entered Jerusalem on a donkey, making an in your face protest against the state and the corrupted organized religion of his day.Â Our next stop with Jesus is a garden to pray.Â Surrounded by the blooms of flowers and the smell of the olive trees, Jesus prays.
Last Sunday, we commemorated Jesus final entry into Jerusalem in what has become known as Palm Sunday.Â Jesus enters the city on a young donkey from the east, where the day begins.Â From the west, where the day goes to die, enters Pilate on a war horse with all the pageantry of the state.Â There is going to be a clash between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Man.Â Ironically it will all occur in Jerusalem, Hebrew for the City of Peace.
Sometimes we are not comfortable with anything that seems â€śtoo politicalâ€ť coming from the pulpit or from a church.Â But the fact of the matter is the gospel is political.Â Collins dictionary defines political as that which â€śrelates to the way power is achieved and used in a country or society.â€ťÂ Who has the power?Â How is it used?
After coming out as a gay man I left church, or maybe a more accurate wording would be church left me. For about a decade I was angry with God's people who shamed and shunned me. I wanted little to nothing to do with church. At the time I was living in a rural community, feeling isolated and alone. I thought there was no one else like me, a person of faith and a person who happened to be attracted to people of the same gender.
But I was still hungry for Christian community so I turned on my computer and typed into a search engine the words â€śChristianâ€ť and â€śGayâ€ť and discovered christiangays.com. After some tentative exploring I started to engage people in this community and discovered I was not alone. The site helped me realize that there were even churches that would accept me with open arms.