August 14, 2014

An apology

I don't read my sermons. I study, take notes and write them the week before. But I typically preach without notes. It's what works best for me. I feel as though I give a better delivery that way and connect better with those listening. It also frees me from having to stand behind a pulpit, which I prefer not to whenever possible and acceptable with a congregation.

When writing this sermon, which I just posted, I used a term that is offensive to others, "sissies." The sentence it was in, I have changed: "Which in Hebrew sounds like, 'Calm down! It’s just me!' For the sake of humor, I used a term that has hurt others and for that I apologize. I honestly don't know if I used the term while preaching or not. If I did, I apologize to anyone that was offended.

Part of my hetero, white male privilege is that I could say something offensive to someone else and get away with it. Fortunately, the world is changing. Fortunately, I have friends with different experiences that widen my perspective and show me how others see the world. It's not always painless but it is a gift of friendship that I will always treasure. I didn't have to write this note post (at first, this started as an addendum to the last post) but I choose to because its important that people like me continue to grow in our understanding that we share this world with others that have a different perspective and experience and for whom our dominance is tragic.

Misogyny is unacceptable even when unintended.

Femininity does not equal weakness. I know this. I live with two powerful women and work with many. I am sorry for using language that communicated otherwise.

I don't think Jesus was inoffensive. I don't think he was as sterile and pristine as our images often portray him. It's hard to discern tone through thousands of years of cultural difference, but I think he was incredibly offensive to many–and still is. But I also believe he was intentional about who he offended. (Yes, I think he did it on purpose.) In this case, mine was unintentional and offensive to those that I think Jesus wouldn’t have intended to hurt. Rather, his story elevates women in a way that was quite radical for his time and place.

So, thanks to those that love me enough to shoot straight with me. I will continue to make mistakes but I know that I have friends who will hold me accountable when I do and help me do better.

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