In their most recent issue, the Texas Observer sat down to interview Reverend Davidson Loehr about his sermons and his new book. When interviewer Ameni Rozsa asked how many of his sermons are “political in nature,” Reverend Loehr delved into the absurdity of drawing a hard and fast distinction between religion and politics…
DL: I think that if what religion is what we’re supposed to be talking about—the values that run our lives and world and the values that should run our lives and world—then there is no line to draw. If you’re only going to focus on yourself, then when society is in a malevolent period (and I think ours is), you become an accomplice to the malevolence. I was raised with the stories about the “good Germans”: all the Germans who knew what was going on and didn’t say anything. The phrase as it was used to me growing up meant cowardly, evil people who were accomplices to immense evil.
Karl Bart, an early twentieth century theologian, said that every Sunday, the preacher had to enter the pulpit—figuratively—with the Bible in one hand and the morning newspaper in the other. My translation is just that you need some source of wisdom, perspective and insight—he used the Bible but we have to draw more broadly than that now—and you have to have some sense of what’s going on in the world. You need to talk about how we’re living compared to the values we call ultimate.
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