Saturday, May 19, 2018

"When Love Is the Way, There's Plenty Good Room, Plenty Good Room, for All of God's Children": Showcasing Black Church Gospel Preaching at Royal Wedding

Here's the text of the sermon Bishop Michael Curry gave at the royal wedding today. In his book Silence: A Christian History (NY: Penguin, 2013), Diarmaid MacCulloch cites Canon W. H. Vanstone, who says that the church is like “a swimming pool in which all the noise comes from the shallow end” (p. 224, citing J.A. Vickers, Wisdom and Wit: An Anthology from the Writings of Gordon Rupp [London, 1993], p. 90, which anthologizes a conversation between Rupp and Vanstone in Methodist Recorder [25 July 1968]).

Though royal weddings or royal anything does not capture my imagination, I do find it refreshing that a representative of the black U.S. church was given a worldwide hearing today, when the shallow end of the pool of American Christianity — the white church and notably white evangelicals — get the most constant hearing and shout the loudest. As far as I'm concerned, Bishop Curry preached the gospel today, and that can't always — even often — be said for the white American church at this point in history. 

I'm very glad to see the black church in the U.S., from which so much progressive social change has emanated, showcased in this way. And in this way:

And, of course, lots of folks don't like any of this showcasing of the U.S. black church and its gospel preaching one little bit, because of this:

He's [Bishop Michael Curry] the son of an American civil rights activist and the descendant of African slaves. He condemned last year's white supremacist rally in Charlottesville as fascist and he has outspokenly stood up for gay rights. 
The Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry also plans to join a march on the White House next week that rejects U.S. President Donald Trump's "America first" stance as "theological heresy."

But meanwhile, there's the rest of the world, in which many of the rest of us find this choice of a preacher for the royal wedding energizing, and want to see the future as multi-racial, multi-cultural, tolerant and inclusive of sexual minorities — and Christianity as all about love. Even when you have no particular interest in royals and their high doings — as I don't — you can still find the drama playing out over the choice of Michael Curry to preach at the royal wedding intriguing and entertaining. And be inspired by the preaching….

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