Scripture: 1 Peter 2:1-12
In November 1971, the Rhythm & Blues group, War, released “All Day Music” and one of the songs on the album was entitled, “Slipping Into Darkness.” The song, written by War guitarist Howard Scott, was about the slippery slope between sanity and insanity.
In an interview with “Song Facts,” Scott said how all of us have looked past the wall of sanity to insanity, but come back. But, some have been known to look and never come back.
According to Scott, we start seeing certain things that are insane in a different way as though they are sane. If we are not careful, we can slip into darkness and never come back. Our abnormality becomes our new normality.
His lyrics included: “I was slipping into darkness, when I talked to my brothers, who never said their names. I was slipping into darkness, when I heard my mama say, you’ve been slipping into darkness, pretty soon you’re gonna pay.”
Ironically, the events surrounding the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh brought these lyrics to mind. The 36-year-old sexual assault allegations of Judge Kavanaugh by Dr. Christine Blasely Ford while at a party in high school has taken the nation back into the darkness of the 1991 confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas and the sexual harassment allegations of him by Professor Anita Hill.
While the circumstances are dramatically different, the situation is strikingly similar. As these allegations were made public, the treatment of Dr. Ford has been similar to that of Professor Hill.
There were four women who were prepared to testify to Hill’s credibility that were not allowed to testify. Several witnesses to Ford’s character and credibility came forth, but were not allowed to testify either. It just feels like we are slipping into darkness.
Just as Professor Hill’s character and credibility was impugned during Justice Thomas hearings, so has Professor Ford’s character and credibility been impugned during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings.
But the question that most of us have is why does this alleged teenage sexual indiscretion of 36 years ago matter in the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh as a lifetime justice to the Supreme Court? It matters, sisters and brothers, because it points directly to his character flaw as a misogynist.Misogyny is a hatred of, contempt for, or an “entrenched prejudice against women and girls. According to the “Psychology Today” blog, “The Mysteries of Love,” men who hate women may not even recognize it, but their actions reveal it.
According to “Psychology Today,” misogyny is an unconscious hatred that men form early in life often as a result of a trauma involving a female figure that they trusted. An abusive or negligent mother, sister, teacher, or girlfriend, according to “Psychology Today,” can plant a seed deep down in the brain’s subcortical matter than manifest itself in abusive actions toward women over time.
The confirmation of Kavanaugh as a lifetime justice to the Supreme Court coupled with the racist, homophobic, xenophobic, and misogynistic policies of the Trump administration has the nation slipping into darkness and pretty soon we’re going to pay.
Peter’s exhortation to these elect first century pilgrims dispersed throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia are to not slip into the insanity of the darkness of their former lusts (v. 13-14) and their aimless conduct (v.18). Lay aside all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and evil speaking (v.1). Lay aside the behavior that had kept them in darkness.
That’s the clarion call to the nation today, to lay aside the insanity of the darkness of our former lust and aimless conduct. Racism won’t make America great again. Homophobia won’t make America great again. Xenophobia won’t make America great again; reunite those children with their undocumented parents. Misogyny won’t make America great again.
Value and respect our women, stand with and stand for them against all violence perpetrated against them. What will make America great again is the laying aside of the behavior that has kept us in darkness.
Then Peter exhorts them to come to Him [Jesus Christ] as to a living stone, rejected by men, but chosen by God (v.4). Believe in Him, the chief cornerstone, elect and precious (v.6). Believe in Him, the stone that the builders rejected (v.7a). Believe in Him, a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense (v.8). Believe in Him; who called you out of darkness into the marvelous light.
Peter concludes his exhortation by telling them that “they too” were living stones. They were a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and God’s own special people. They were to proclaim praises of Him because He brought them out of darkness into the marvelous light.
They once were not a people, but now they were the people of God. They had not obtained mercy, but now they have obtained mercy (v.10). “They too” were living stones.
Kansas City is known as the “City of Fountains.” There are probably more fountains in Kansas City than any other city in the country. The water in the fountains change colors; from green to red, to purple, to blue and so on.
But it gets cold in Kansas City. It snows in Kansas City, but rarely are the fountains not working because Kansas City is the city of fountains.
One cold sub-zero winter day, as I was coming home from a meeting, I noticed that in the city of fountains, the fountains were not on. I attributed it to the weather, thinking it was so cold that day that they could not turn the fountains on.
As I thought about that day, I realized that life could be like that. Life can turn cold on you. Family can turn cold on you. Friends can turn cold on you. But “there is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Emmanuel’s veins and sinners plunge beneath the flood, lose all their guilty stains.”
We, too, can be living stones. Plunge in today and lose all your guilty stains. Plunge in today and obtain the mercy that is yours. Plunge in today and come out of darkness into His marvelous light. Amen!
The Rev. Dr. Kelvin T. Calloway is the senior pastor of Bethel AME Church, 7900 S. Western Ave., in –Los Angeles.