The Basis Upon Which We Speak

If you have not heard or read Jeremiah Wright’s recent words, you are either lucky or have been disconnected from the Internet for a long time.  There is no need for me to address what he said or why he said it.  It was an emotional sermon and spoken from the perspective of years past.  It did have what I thought were some inaccuracies.

And that leads me to ask upon what basis should we speak.  It is entirely proper to use emotion when you are in the pulpit, be it the “bully” pulpit of politics or the pulpit in a church.  And it is proper to be angry when speaking from whichever pulpit you are in.  But should emotions be driven entirely by anger coupled with hate?  Should not reason and knowledge somehow and someway be the basis upon which our emotions are let out?

What then do we say of a pastor who preaches hatred out of ignorance?

What do we say of a pastor who argues for nuclear war as the precursor for the 2nd Coming of Christ?

What do we say of a pastor who argues for the destruction of a people because of what the pastor thinks those people said?

At what point do we the listeners stand up and say “Wait a minute!! That is not right!”

Is the pulpit, be it politic or religious, the place for a rhetoric based on hate?  What happened to the words of Christ and the Gospel message?  Where are the words of unification and peace to come from?

On more than one occasion, I have written and spoken of a fear which seems to have taken over this country.  If we allow fear to control our lives, then we will have surrendered reason for emotion.  And out of this will come anger.  And with anger comes hatred.  We need to be bringing people together, working to remove the injustice and oppression that pervades this world.  We will not do so when our words are angry.

Let us remember what Paul told the Ephesians,

Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life. (Ephesians 4: 26 – 27)

Let us speak the truth but let us do so in a way that we can build, not destroy.  There has been enough killing; more than enough angry words have been spoken. 

Let us remember also the words of the prophets Isaiah and Micah,

. . . when all is said and done,
   God’s Temple on the mountain,
Firmly fixed, will dominate all mountains,
   towering above surrounding hills.
People will stream to it
   and many nations set out for it,
Saying, “Come, let’s climb God’s mountain.
   Let’s go to the Temple of Jacob’s God.
He will teach us how to live.
   We’ll know how to live God’s way.”
True teaching will issue from Zion,
   God’s revelation from Jerusalem.
He’ll establish justice in the rabble of nations
   and settle disputes in faraway places.
They’ll trade in their swords for shovels,
   their spears for rakes and hoes.
Nations will quit fighting each other,
   quit learning how to kill one another. (Micah 4: 2 – 3)

On this particular March 20th, let us remember who died and why He died.  Let us work to bring the freedom that Christ’s death on the cross represents into fulfillment.


Cross posted to

1 thought on “The Basis Upon Which We Speak

  1. I am not comfortable with the idea of using emotion from the pulpit because emotions are not to be used but to be expressed. Unfortunately some of us preachers do “use emotions” instead of expressing them.

    When I think of Jesus I often think of the emotion he expressed when he was moved with compassion. I think that many are wanting this kind of emotion expressed but so often find us preachers using emotion to make a point.

    Happy Easter!

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