God's Outrageous Love by Bob Wickizer

God's Outrageous Love
Bob Wickizer
Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23; Psalm 125; James 2:1-10, [11-13], 14-17; Mark 7:24-37

''Blessed is the one who can love all people equally … always thinking good of everyone.'' (St. Maximos the Confessor 580-682)

Less than twenty years after the crucifixion, James the brother of Jesus wrote the letter you just heard. He talks about choosing sides and favoritism when it comes to the poor. But this is a process we do in all walks of life and we need to address the issue of playing favorites.

When serving in the Diocese of Washington DC, I managed to inadvertently cause an international uproar in the Anglican Church. The whole story is too long to detail here but the core of the story involved a parishioner of mine from Nigeria who had served as the headmaster of the largest Episcopal high school in the capital of Nigeria. One day she invited me to have lunch with her ''primate.'' She was not referring to monkeys, but instead she was using primate as a proper ecclesiastical title for her archbishop who at that time was Peter Akinola.

Around that same time, Archbishop Akinola was making international headlines pressing the Nigerian parliament to pass laws against gay people that were so harsh they violated over a dozen provisions of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Even conservative clergy in the United States tended to view him somewhere between the devil and the Ku Klux Klan. My colleagues either thought I had gone insane or I had gone over to the dark side just by virtue of the fact that I was willing to have a meal with this archbishop.

So let me tell you about a Baptist preacher who held a very similar point of view - Wil Campbell. Born in a farming family in one of the poorest counties in Mississippi, he credits his family with raising him to be culturally tolerant even though the Baptist church that ordained him at age 17 has bibles embossed with the Ku Klux Klan symbol on the cover. Although he mi ...

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