Saturday, July 04, 2015

More than Enough of Contempt

In the sermon for this week, we will look at the Psalmist's reflections in Psalm 123. We find there a lament that "we have had more than enough of contempt" (Ps. 123:3). It becomes clear from the context that the source of the contempt are the rich and powerful who are arrogant enough to believe that just because they have the power to do something, they can.
The "back story" to my perspective on this passage relates to my experiences as a professor at a Southern Baptist seminary during the years when a particular group of pastors were working to take over the institutions of the denomination. Since it was at the time the largest Protestant denomination in the U. S., we're talking about assets in the tens of millions of dollars. Plus the power that goes with having control over a 14 million-member church. 
As you can imagine, that kind of power went to the heads of the individuals who were spearheading the effort that did eventually succeed in taking control of the denomination. They wreaked havoc in the lives of people who had served faithfully for years, if not decades, simply because they could. I don't think I was the only one who felt like I'd had more than enough of that kind of arrogant contempt.
Now, as I look at our society as a whole, it seems that same mindset has taken over in the public square. If some party had a 51 per cent majority, they don't seem to give it a second thought about cramming their "victory" down the throats of their opponents. The powerful in our society, with a few notable exceptions, seem to have no conscience about using their power to benefit themselves, no matter whom they have to hurt in the process. I would think there are a lot of people who have had more than enough of the contempt of the powerful who are arrogant enough to think they can do whatever they want just because they can.

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