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I am sorry to report that I didn’t say it.
I felt I couldn’t say it, really.
If I did, you see, my saying something like, “I hate war” might imply a certain political position, which is something pastors just are not supposed to do. Especially Baptist pastors. Unless, of course, we are kicking people off the church membership rolls for not voting the right way.
(What kind of pastor kicks people off the rolls? Wait. Don’t answer that. I was recently toying with the idea of paying people to put their names ON the rolls . . . who cares who they voted for? Have you ever read Philip Gulley’s hilarious book, Home to Harmony? He suggests handing out lottery tickets to improve worship attendance. Sounds like an interesting option to me . . .).
Nope. Franklin Delano Roosevelt said it.
I know this, not because of my vast and encyclopedic knowledge of American history. No, I know this because I went on a tour of Washington monuments last week while the family was in from out of town, and I visited the FDR monument for the first time (give me a break, I’ve only lived here 2 1/2 years!).
When I saw his comment on war it occurred to me that it takes a lot of guts to be in the public eye and to say something that you believe with all your heart to be true, even if your position is not popular. It’s a brave soul that risks disapproval, loss . . . death, even, to make a definitive, unpopular pronouncement.
I guess that would be kind of like what Jesus did when he said all those crazy things about loving your enemy and turning the other cheek.
This always happens to me! All I was doing was spending an evening out in Washington, seeing the sights with my family. When I got in the car that night I didn’t give it a second thought–my cushy balance-beam-walking “official” position on the war (don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t offend anyone, just pray a lot about peace in the pastoral prayer and hope people notice).
This always happens to me! Right when I am surely justified in my safety and silence I get reminded of Jesus.
I don’t live in the White House, but I do have a captive audience for at least the first minute or two of Sunday morning’s sermon. So, I might have a responsibility to speak up.
So, there. I said it.
I hate war.