They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, ‘The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.’ But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.
Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the way?’ But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.’ Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’
How we go from there to convicted murderers being ordained, the three strikes you're out law, and America bashing is probably beyond me, but that never stopped me before.
One way to get there is to give a rambling 25 minute sermon without notes. Here is my take.
Jesus catches his disciples arguing over who is the greatest among them, puts them in their place, and teaches them a lesson in humility. Translating this into modern liberal speak means that we should look to promote the least to the first, and if this includes ordaining a convicted murderer, then the Episcopal church has interpreted Jesus' lesson as a lesson in radical affirmative action. (I am not aware of the case our rector cited of a man serving a life sentence (for killing his wife with an arrow) getting ordained in the Episcopal church in Virginia, but I do recall the case of James Tramel in California, and you can see what happened to him here)
Moving on to the three strikes law, according to the Rector, this has been a miserable failure. I think we got there from taking a look at God's mercy. I guess California would be better off letting repeat offenders go. I am no expert in the California justice system, but I see where the AP published this story that California's recidivism rates declined to 27 year low in 2006. Also, if NC had a three strikes law, the Gaffney serial killer would not have been out and free to kill. I know we are supposed to show mercy, but are we supposed to be stupid?
Last but not least, we have the case of America and the price of greatness. I don't know what our rector has against America, but it has come out in little bits and pieces in several of his sermons, today's included. Maybe there is a collective guilt in the liberal mind over living in such a properous land. The guilt comes from the notion that America has prospered through exploitation of resources, people, and nations. I think that is a false simplification of a more complex history. Is our prosperity hard to reconcile with Jesus' message? I will argue that America is the best country in the world, and if that puts us last through the gates of heaven, then that's okay. If by becoming a lesser nation, we could move ahead a few places in the line to enter heaven, would that be right?
Doesn't an ebb tide ground all boats?