lenten day 23 – flipping tables, trading wisdom for foolishness, and standing loudly against racist swine

One silver lining from this awful pandemic cloud is that, in addition to online service at my own church, I also now get to attend a church out of state pastored by a dear friend of mine since our youth group days as well. I was sitting with our group of friends when he preached his first sermon on a Sunday night at our home church many years ago and it brings me such joy to listen to his sermons once more and be a small part of their church family these days as well as my own.

Well, as scripture readings intersect on the church calendar, last Sunday at my churches had one of the weeks readings being the story of Jesus cleansing the temple (John 2:13-22) – driving out the money changers, flipping tables – which had I had just encountered in my gospel read through and seen in several places – and both wonderful sermons were on 1 Corinthians 1:18-25. the foolishness of God in light of the “wisdom” of this world.

As it happened, that came along just after I had seen the this Stephen Price quote that is also posted above:

And this thought had been really staying with me, working on my heart – and still is.

At the same time, both beautiful sermons, from Stephanie and from Tim, were on 1 Corinthians 1:18-25:

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. For it is written:

 “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. (NIV)

As Stephanie preached, taken together, the images of Jesus flipping tables and of God replacing the “wisdom” of this world – and as Tim preached on exchanging the wisdom of this world for the true wisdom of God.

Walking in God’s ways.

I wrote all of the above early – EARLY – Saturday morning – but school has been crazy and I’ve been in a flare – so it has been sitting since and now it’s early Monday morning.

(I’ve spent the past two days either asleep or in a mad dash with school work – but we’re kicking 😉  )

Maybe that’s a good thing though, because my church also did several wonderful posts last week about table flipping and doing justice and I just wasn’t sure early Saturday what all I wanted to say.

Well, as it happened, another precious friend since high school posted the most horrifying article about a man named Matt Rowan, a former youth pastor who is now a sports announcer in Oklahoma.

Matt, while covering a girls high school basketball game – the young women were playing to make it to the state tournament – became irate when these young ladies all took a knee together during the National Anthem. Not realizing his mic was hot, he proceeded to say: “They are kneeling?” F**king (N-word). I hope Norman gets their a** kicked. F**k them. I hope they lose. They are going to kneel like that? Hell no.”

THIS is what Mr. Former Youth Pastor had to say about high school young women doing something he disagreed with. 

The other announcer with him, Scott Sapulpa, is the football coach at the local high school – and he said nothing.

When the obvious outrage began, Rowan initially tried to actually say that it was his “good friend” Scott and not him. Finally, he had to ‘fess up – and released this statement:

I’ve seen some serious BS – and I’ve never seen anything like this in my life.

First, I’m diabetic as well and my diabetes has never caused racism. Even in a state of delirium, a person is not going spew words that aren’t a part of their vocabulary. I have never used that word – so I wouldn’t use it while delirious, just as I wouldn’t say something anti-Semitic or against any other people group. One doesn’t suddenly develop a new language.

Rowan did later admit in an interview that he regularly speaks in this manner but he’s really working on it he says.

Well, as hideous as the language is, the hateful filthy heart condition it belies is much more concerning.

And this non-apology?

Where he blames his diabetes – though he was fine for the second half?

That’s ridiculous enough. And he owes these young women an in-person, one on one apology – though, if I were them, I wouldn’t want to be in the same room with him to accept it.

But I have a larger issue even than that with his statement.

It’s that he’s a former youth minister and a Baptist he says – in trying to justify himself.

This is where I’m going to flip the freaking table.

This is where I’m going to say “Hale, no. Absolutely not.”

People of God, I think he really believes this. I understand that he is a pastor’s son – I’ve been down the rabbit hole with this story – as well and I think he REALLY believes that he is a good Baptist despite this pure evil in his heart towards other people, God’s people, made in His image. He feels justified.

This has really grieved my heart since I read it, both for these precious young women – who went on to WIN state! – and for the reproof this sort of garbage brings on the body of Christ.

So I think we need to first replace this fool’s “wisdom” with the true wisdom of God:

Every single person is made in the imago dei, the image of God.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness”. . . So God created man in His own image, He created him in the image of God; he created them male and female. – Genesis 1:26-27 (CSB)

As we are reminded in Anthropology, while we all have different lands of origin and cultures and stories – and that is to be celebrated – there really IS only one race – the human race – and we are all here in the time God chose for us.

From one man he has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. – Acts 17:26 (CSB)

Scripture makes clear that the Lord does not condone discrimination.

For God does not show favoritism. – Romans 2:11 (NIV)

I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels to observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing out of favoritism. – 1Timothy 5:21 (CSB)

Indeed, if you fulfill the royal law prescribed in the Scripture, Love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well. If, however, you show favoritism, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. – James 2:8-9 (CSB)

There is no separation between us in Christ.

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3:28 (NIV)

And, finally, we are to love as Jesus loves.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. – John 13:34 (NIV)

That he would dare attempt to hide behind the church in addressing this horrible racist behavior makes me ill. This is a table that I don’t want to be anywhere near. This is a table I want to flip a thousand times. This is a table I want to burn to the ground.

This is beyond unacceptable.

This is disgusting.

Church, may we be the first to stand up and speak out and say “Hale, No!” to this.

I’ve had a copy of this benediction in my Bible for years:

May we be foolish enough to make a difference.

Be well, everybody. Take care of yourselves and each other.

Grace and Blessings.

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