From Meddling to Preaching


wounded childrenI was still in my twenties pastoring my second church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, when a church member met with me to set me straight:

“Preacher, you need to know that whenever you start preaching against cigarettes, you’ve stopped preaching, and you’ve started meddling.”

What he was saying is that he could sometimes tolerate me preaching parts of the gospel that made him a little uncomfortable. On many things, he could quietly agree to disagree. However, he would have big problems with me if I started preaching things that went against the very heart of who he was: a proud smoker from the city that RJ Reynolds built.

I respected where he was coming from. And although I did not believe the man should be smoking cigarettes, I never preached a sermon in that city against tobacco. In other words, in his eyes I never went from “preaching to meddling.”

Because I believe in the separation of Church and State, I have adopted a similar understanding when it comes to preaching and politics.

What I am saying is that I can sometimes tolerate politicians making policies that may make me a little uncomfortable. That’s just the nature politics. On many things, I can quietly agree to disagree.

But sometimes politicians stop politicking and start meddling. Sometimes the State enacts something that goes against the very heart of who I am: a pastor who has been called to preach the gospel that Jesus proclaimed.

And when they start meddling, we need to start preaching.


For further reading regarding preaching and politics, please see this article by Rev. Dr. Molly Marshall, my seminary theology professor who continues to inspire me today: What Does Preaching Look Like after the Inauguration





One thought on “From Meddling to Preaching

  1. When I first returned to North Carolina after serving in Maryland, my D.S. took me aside and said, “You will register independent.” No reservations, no arguing, just do it. So, taking his wisdom, this is what I did. After serving only about 6 months I learned his reason for such a message. I served a four point Charge. Two were Blue Collar, two were white Collar. Two were lower income, two were higher income. and finally, two were democrat and two were republican. It,could have been worse. The “downtown” church in this small county was divided right down the aisle, democrats sat on the right, and republicans sat on the left (Yes, you read that right).
    I have held to that position ever since. It has given me the ability to minister to both sides of the divide. It’s not that I didn’t have a political opinion, some which are strongly held. But that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is greater than a political position.

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