“Disturbing the Peace”–Sermon Introduction

In the last month, over 3,000 Christians, living in Orissa India have become homeless. Most of them have been driven out at gunpoint or because their houses were already being burned. Now thousands of Christians are living in the forest to seek protection from the Hindu radicals. They have no food or water. One Christian was burned alive when his colony was set on fire. One Catholic nun was publically gang raped and a priest was seriously beaten, and then doused with gasoline. Rain prevented the matches from being lit until the police arrived. Most recently the extremists are seizing people, forcing them into their homes to pick up their bibles and then holding them at gunpoint until they burn them. If people want to stay in their villages, they are beaten and then required to pay the equivalent of $1000 US dollars to stay (assuming they can find a new place to live after their homes have been burned). This is not Jerusalem…and this is not 2 thousand years ago…this was last month…and the attacks are continuing as we speak.

But let’s move closer to home. One out of every four abortions in the country is performed by Planned Parenthood. Last year (2007), Planned Parenthood earned over 1 billion dollars in profits and performed a record 25,000 more abortions than had every been performed in the history of the world, roughly 289,570 abortions. Abortion is big business and it is growing and in need of expansion: Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas owns a seven-story structure at 4600 Gulf Freeway (I-45 & Elgin), which they plan to convert into a late-term abortion clinic. Children will be killed in this building through all 9 months of pregnancy, according to the State of Texas. This building could be the largest freestanding abortion facility in the Western Hemisphere right here in Houston.

Wikipedia: Disturbing the peace is a crime generally defined as the unsettling of proper order in a public space through one’s actions. This can include creating loud noise by fighting or challenging to fight, disturbing others by loud and unreasonable noise (including loud music or dog barking), or using offensive words likely to incite violence. My question for you this morning is this: What is peace? Is it a routine or personal privacy? Is peace the right to do and say whatever you like? Is peace non-violence? Is peace the same as tolerance and ambivalence toward tough issues? How do we find peace? Does the gospel bring peace or the very opposite? As Christians should we be defining peace the same way the Keith Oberman does on MSNBC? How do we respond to situations in Orissa and in Houston that clearly disturb the peace in once sense or another? Is there a place for us to stand up and speak, even when we are going against the majority…even the authority? Let’s turn to our text this morning for the answer…

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