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Feb 22, 2017

Pulpit To Pew - Resist Rudeness - Rev. Beverly Gibson - Johnny Gwin - Christ Church Cathedral

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In this episode, Rev. Gibson and Johnny Gwin continue discussing Jesus's beautiful, self-giving and sacrificial lessons of the Sermon on the Mount. "Love your enemy" and "pray for those that persecute you" are not only hard things to do but seems to be in direct opposition to the Old Testament "eye for an eye" rule of retribution. Jesus not only taught these new revisions of what God expects from us; he lived them. He forgave his persecutors and was actually "polite" with his killers until his final mortal breath. Christ's "perfection" and holy actions are an extreme example of his guiding light to navigate us today in such a polarized world of angry words, hurtful insults and bad actors.

In the last half of the show, Rev. Gibson parallels Rachel Cusk's New Yorker Magazine essay "Age of Rudeness" with this week's lessons and readings.  Ms.Cusk she shares some real-world experiences and observations of a "rude" world and frames the question: "As the social contract frays, what does it mean to be polite?"

{Except from Rev. Gibson's Weekly Worship Notes}

Ms. Cusk refers at several points to the Bible, and specifically, to Jesus. Here is one: "[Rudeness] is the outward sign of an inward and unseen calamity. Rudeness itself is not the calamity. It is the harbinger, not the manifestation, of evil. [...] What Jesus did was to sacrifice himself, use his body to translate word to deed, to make evil visible. While being crucified, he remained for the most part polite. He gave others much to regret." In her conclusion, her suggested answer to her presenting question, Ms. Cusk draws on Jesus' example: "It strikes me that good manners would be the thing to aim for in the current situation. I have made a resolution, which is to be more polite. I don't know what it will do: this might be a dangerous time for politeness. It might involve sacrifices. It might involve turning the other cheek." In the end, she writes, "it would be good to have something to navigate by."

Could following Christ's teachings and living up to his expectations free us from our "win at any cost" world? What small things can we do as individuals to help bring peace and understanding in such a turbulent environment? How can we start to understand, transform and implement this radical "Christ-like" example of how to deal with even our most difficult neighbors and yes, enemies? The discipline of resisting the urge of "getting someone back" will take a lot of work, patience, prayer and sacrifice but learning to overcome this common human instinct could be transformative for yourself and those that need a swift drop-kick of kindness and understanding.

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Click to read Rev. Gibson's full worship notes

sabbadoodle - jesus - sermon on the mount - sketchnote - moses - drawing

What Will You Hear:
> Understanding, following, and living the teachings of Jesus is not always Rainbows and Unicorns
> The Sermon on the Mount and it's messages can be very hard to follow in today's worldly and modern society
> Insights into the Book of Leviticus
> We are instructed to treat other's like we treat ourselves - does this apply to people who treat themselves poorly?
> Do we treat ourselves well with our own interior voice? Can we be too hard on ourselves compared to how we talk to and treat others?
> You have to be happy and calm internally to be able to give back to others and be there for others
> Internal harsh expectation carries over to others
> "The Age of Rudeness" - Rachel Cusk - New Yorker Magazine
> The Christ way of not returning a harsh word for a harsh word, or what we know as "turning the other cheek"
> How not to amplify rude and tense moments with strangers
> The truth of rude words and the harsh conversation of family members
> The dangers of talking harshly to the one's we love - our family & friends
> Pay It Forward movement in daily life
> Ms. Cusk makes a conscious decision - what will happen if I make a constant effort always to be polite? Will this make a real difference in the world?
> Beverly and how her priest collar diffused a tense moment in the post office
> How we are - as a culture - programmed not to act up when we are around priests and church authority
> Sermon on the Mount - more than just being non-confrontational
> Christians need to show that they are more than what worldly authority knows
> Jesus always remained "polite" with his persecutors even up to moment of his death
> I live my life by a different code than that of the world
> "bless your heart" has become a joke and code that may amplify a tense conversation or moment
> What kind of discipline is Jesus asking us to live up to?
> Can Churches be a divisive force personally and in the community?
> Balancing the message of and act of politeness with the natural instinct and reaction of our reptile aggressive brain
> The power of silence in confrontation and tense moments
> Email is difficult to understand communication and context when it comes to complex issues
> Jesus's teachings free us from living in a "win at any cost" world.
> The book Deep Work by Cal Newport - Beverly's positive input suggestion for this week
> John Adams HBO mini-series - Johnny's positive input suggestion for this week
> Takeaway: Try our best to be the example that Jesus taught and lived in his life. Even when dealing with your biggest rival or nemesis to rise above pettiness, see God in all, and instead of fighting power with power - try understanding, empathy, courtesy and silence.


Readings Referenced:


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