I’m reading a new history of the Civil War and I think we are a long way from the Harry Potter Harry Slother shirt. I finished a biography of Franklin Roosevelt, Traitor to His Class, and we are a long way from the kind of political hatred of that era. Sometimes preachers tell me they are trapped by fear. Why are they so afraid? Preachers are afraid to say what they have learned from the critical study of the Bible because it goes against the accommodated nature of the churches they serve. The advances in the critical study of the Bible have been too great for us not to make full use of them. It is to cheat our congregation if we hold back, and besides, many of them are already reading the books that pastors think lay persons “just can’t handle yet.
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Preachers are afraid because they know a lot of church members want to hear what they like Harry Potter Harry Slother shirt, what they already believe and endorse. Why a church would want a scared preacher is beyond me. They tell me they wish they had more courage. I attend meetings where we are working for some cause of social justice and pastors will say, “I’m all for this but I can’t really talk about it in my church. My people are just too conservative and I will get in a lot of trouble, but I’m on your side.” I understand, but that preacher is handcuffed and hooked. His congregation reduces his freedom, restricts his operation, limits his performance, keeps him from doing his best, and silences the word of the Lord in his heart.