Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Total Sacrifice

[I suggest you check out the interesting comments Suzanne Schaefer-Coates and Bob Parsons made on the post for 8-29, “Some Good Memory.”]

The lectionary readings for Sunday, Sept. 1, are: Jeremiah 18:1-11; Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18; Philemon 1-21; Luke 14:25-33.

The general theme is Jesus’ dictum: Take up your cross and renounce everything you have or you can’t be my disciple!

I liked this sort of talk a lot when I was in college, mostly, I think, because I had little I had to sacrifice—no home, no job, no family, no money. As I began to acquire all those things, this idea of total sacrifice became a lot less intriguing.

When I was a campus minister, I found that college students and old people were in cahoots. We worked on things like “open housing” together.

When we moved to Normal, IL in 1966, “Negroes,” as the polite word was in those days, were not allowed to live in Normal. That would have included Barak Obama, although he is as much white as black. But IL State U had just hired a new math PhD from U. of IL, Charles Morris. Some folks said it was stupid that a guy with a PhD in math was considered inferior to live in a place with a name like Normal. Others said to let any black person into town would drive property values down, and that obviously property rights were more important than human rights. I said that I did not think we should let U of IL PhDs into town for next we would have to let Purdue people in. The folks against letting black folks be Normal citizens were not amused. [Nay-sayers are rarely fond of humor.]

The coalition of college students and old people prevailed, including the tie-breaking vote on the town council from Methodist preacher and director of The Baby Fold child care center, Bill Hammett, Sr.

Now is our last chance to renounce it all to follow Christ, actually to live by following him without an extra tunic. Isn’t it a shame to renounce our deathright for a mess of senior discounts pottage?

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