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Pr. Dan Forsgren Pastor Dan Forsgren

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Pr. Forsgren

From the Desk of Pastor Dan Forsgren

June 2018

Festival of Homiletics

I am sitting in Peet’s Coffee shop on M Street in Washington DC, just a few steps away from the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church. In the midst of a preaching seminar unlike I have ever experienced before. If I could bottle this experience and bring it back to you I would, but I know that the words which come from The Rev. Dr. Walter Bruggemann; Richard Rohr, OFM; and Diana Butler Bass carry a certain authority because of who they are. And while I will do my best to honor this wonderful continuing education opportunity Trinity has supported me in attending, I am certainly no Rev. Dr. Craig Barnes, President of Princeton Theological Seminary.

The theme is Preaching and Politics...I know, I know a dangerous topic. But I think it is often misunderstood, and misrepresented before it has been given a chance. The word ‘politics’ comes from the Greek ‘polis’ which literally means “affairs of the city” or “people”. I listened to Otis Moss III this morning; he is the pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. He said, “To say Jesus is not political, is to say that Jesus has no interest in the dealings with the people”.

I think when we say that politics has no place in the pulpit, what we mean should be that the pulpit should not be used as a platform to endorse one candidate over another. I agree with this, I will never tell you who to vote for; I firmly believe this to be an abuse of my office as pastor. To preach the Gospel however, to preach the ideas, the themes, the things which Jesus himself held near and dear is to jump headfirst into the political. Social justice issues are always political.

When Rome took power in the area of Judea, they had witnessed the troubles the Greeks had trying to rule the way they did. The Romans took a different approach, “Say what you want, just not against the Roman Empire.” Then along comes Jesus. And everything he does, everything he talks about seems to be politically charged in some way, shape, or form.

Jesus made it his mission to care for people; to claim to be non-political is to choose not to care for people. We cannot claim to care for people but then when it comes to providing medical attention demand to know if this was a pre-existing condition; Jesus didn’t demand a co-pay before he took care of people, no, instead he turned the entire system on its head and claimed the last shall be first and the first shall be last! To the Roman Empire this was absolutely political.

To proclaim the good news to the poor, to proclaim release of the prisoners, to preach the good news of Jesus Christ is always political. I hope that as we move forward into the coming years at TLC we might embrace our call to be a city set on a hill; a light shining in the darkness; good news for those, and for a world that so desperately needs not only to hear about Jesus, but also to see that we, as Christians, take to heart our identity as children of God, as disciples of Christ...for the sake of the world.

In Christ,
Pastor Dan

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