H. Beecher Hicks, in Preaching Through the Storm, writes about three things that attempt to force the preacher into being quiet when they need to speak. Are you being silenced?
The first of these is the “socio-political and economic climate of America.” Here the prevailing common wisdom seeks to force us as preachers into being quiet about injustice and anything that causes pain in the world. Much of the progress in racial matters in this country has been because the Black Preacher would not be silenced.
But today, have we sold our voice for twenty pieces of silver? Have we gone along with injustice for faith based initiatives? Sure we haven’t preached injustice, in many cases, but have we let evil grow while we have a party on sunday morning and have nothing to help people the rest of the week?
If I can push this further. Does our political affiliation silence us? You speak clearly on Abortion, can you speak so clearly on the rights of the poor? What about corporations that are killing the poor by dumping toxins in rural areas where no one has anyone to defend them? Does our political affiliation force us to be silent on one or the other issue? I tire of partisan preachers who think that God is either a Democrat or a Republican. They use the same tired arguments from the talk radio rather than the word that comes from God in the Bible.
Doesn’t the gospel have something to say to the powerful who have said that they are Christian? Doesn’t the Gospel mean that we live differently? Will the preacher preach this, or simply forever preach a Gospel that is what Bonhoffer called Cheap Grace?
1 thought on “Will The Preacher Shut Up?”
I am so sorry that, once again, I’ve come to the discussion a bit late. Your question with regards to the silencing of the black preacher has plagued me from the very beginning of my ministry.
I don’t have much to add to where, it appears, you were headed in your thinking. However, I am, perhaps more of a “glass half empty” kind of a person when it comes to what (I think) the Bible mandates vs. how we have failed to relinquish the “plantation mentality” in lieu of not “rocking da massuh’s boat”. After all, we must depend on de massah for everything we git.
In my opinion, not only has our socio-political place in this society silenced the voices, of those supposedly called to speak truth to power, we are also internally quieted by the ignorance of those who actually call themselves pay us to speak; whether pastor, assistant minister, or the once a year evangelist… an man told me once: Rev., don’t preach about SIN so much, we know we’re sinning”. So it’s all the same.
You know we got pay fa “things”, and heaven forbid that SIN is preached or mentioned;one may as well pack his/her bags.In the past when preaching to an audience I’m not familiar with, and when mentioning SIN, and my wife is with me, I always say: “Go start the car, honey”. The people, then, look at me like I’m crazy; they may not get it, but they don’t know how serious I am. Preaching the truth has always been risky.
Anyway, sad to say,the answer is YES! Far too many of us are silenced all the day long, but if we succumb to such a thing, some- how, sooner or later it will become like “…fire shut up in our bones…”; dem it’s on shonuf. When we see Jesus face to face, that’s probably one of the things we might want to know more about. I’m jes sayin’.