August 18, 2019

Can We Kill Our Way Into Heaven?
Pentecost 10 – Proper 15,
Year C
Becky Robbins-Penniman

Shall we kill our way into the Reign of God?

In Monday’s Tampa Bay Times, there’s a link to an essay by Jesse Kelly, a Marine Corps veteran from Texas who asserts that all “good Americans” (a term he does not define) should take responsibility for our own protection: we should get a gun, train with it, and be prepared to kill those who threaten our safety. Our responsibility to do that means that any laws limiting our freedom to do so must be repealed.

Mr. Kelly’s assertion is utterly consistent with the phase of human existence that, according to anthropologists, we’ve been in for about 10,000 years, maybe 15,000. It was then that humans began settling into towns and cities and owning land. At the same time, they discovered the very basic principle that makes this concept of having and owning stuff work: MIGHT MAKES RIGHT. Those who are stronger – first physically, and eventually, economically and socially, get to determine what is right, and what is right is what they want. Then they use their strength – physical, economic, social – to get it.

The eons of oppression of those who are not mighty attest to the reality that humanity is embedded in the system of MIGHT MAKES RIGHT. The Psalm – a good 3,000 to 5,000 years old – lists the oppressed: the weak, the humble, the needy, the poor – and I’ll add others the Bible names: women, children, refugees, orphans, slaves, the lame and the diseased: people without might.

The question is not whether “mighty” people sometimes do great things. Of course they do. Thank God for them. The question is whether the entire system of MIGHT MAKES RIGHT is God’s foundation for Creation to be as God intends…

Read the full sermon transcript HERE.