First, as promised, an announcement about the “One Millionth View” prize. I took all the names of people who had commented on the various platforms during the critical window of time, jumbled them together, and picked a name. I will make contact today and, if the winner consents, feature them (and the book they choose) in an upcoming post. Thanks again for your enthusiastic support!
This morning I want to talk about a great story Rebekah shared at the beginning of her message Sunday morning. In one sense it was a perfect illustration for where she was going in her sermon. In another it was/is powerful and cogent social commentary, and especially helpful at this political “moment”. I pray that literally thousands of people hear it, and begin to connect the dots.
Here’s the story, abbreviated (she tells it better – starting around the 20-minute mark):
Remember the party game where someone whispers something, quietly, to their neighbor, then they are supposed to say the exact same thing to the next person? It repeats, all around the circle. A few years ago, on a retreat with 30 youth, Rebekah was asked to start the whisper. So she launched a message designed to give encouragement to everyone there.
“Pastor Rebekah knows that you are a beloved child of God.”
What the whisper became, after 30 quiet repetitions, was “Pastor Rebekah is getting a new dog.”
Yes, that’s funny. But within a week this “news item” was circulating the church as fact. Questions were asked, such as:
- “Why isn’t Rebekah saving a dog from a shelter?” and,
- “What does Rebekah have against rescue dogs?” and,
- “Doesn’t she know there are people in the church who are allergic?” and,
- “Why is the pastor bringing a mean German Shepherd to the church office?”
This led to conversations between the youth and their more conservative friends at school. “I don’t care what kind of a dog it is, woman are not allowed to be preachers!”
We are not making this up! The best stories don’t have to be invented! Rebekah and I just keep our eyes and ears open and we pay attention!
But isn’t this the social/political climate we live in? It’s not difficult to do a little research, and it only takes minimal effort to verify information before we pass it on. Yet we read or hear something “juicy,” and there it is, repeated and – don’t forget this – validated by association with your name….
Back when I was a school teacher, rampant gossip and misinformation often circulated the campus. So each new semester I would meet with the immediate support staff in my classroom (I had a teacher’s aid plus two behavior techs) and we covenanted together to be what I called, “Gossip Circuit Breakers”. In other words, we agreed to do the following: A) Never repeat gossip. B) Challenge the person who told it to check their facts. C) Always go to the source rather than believe “third-person” hearsay.
We can make a difference. We must make a difference. Think of verification of the facts as the equivalent of wearing a mask. Because untruth is as malignant a virus as COVID-19, and potentially much more damaging.
Peace, and more peace – DEREK
(below – images from Sunday 27th at WFPC):