Midweek Message

September 25, 2018

Jim Hopkins

September 25, 2018

Dear LABC,
Thanks for your many responses to my sermon on Sunday (a change from the topic I previously announced) in which I waded into the waters of #WhyIDidntReport and the many concerns raised by the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to become a lifetime member of the United States Supreme Court. My sermon dealt primarily with the ways in which males need to reconsider and relearn how we express our power, especially in relationship to women and children. Any attempt to address this topic must come with the recognition that every statement leads to at least one more question. Here are some important questions  and issues I didn’t address on Sunday:

  1. How different would the response of the public be if  Kavanaugh’s skin color was black or brown? Specifically, how would the narrative of those who say “it was a long time ago, he was only seventeen” change based on the color of his skin?
  2. The church still needs to find ways to speak meaningfully of sexual ethics. It often seems that the only teaching we offer is “sexual expression outside of marriage is bad and sexual expression inside of marriage is good.” We leave little room for nuance, consideration of context and questions like “who is blessed?” and “who is harmed?”
  3. How does a church best live out  its faith commitment to be a safe place for the vulnerable?
  4. How do we interpret biblical stories in which characters who commit despicable acts, such as David with Bathsheba, rise to power and seem to move forward with God’s blessing? Why is it that we so readily blame women for the sins committed by men?

More to come. Let us make the road by walking it.
Jim H.
(I intend to preach the “Languages of Love” sermon I had planned for September 23 this coming Sunday, September 30.)

Prayers of the Congregation

  • Thanksgiving that Jim Jeffery is recuperating from surgery
  • Tyrone Mack for his mother-in-law
  • Larry Sims as he mourns the death of his cousin
  • Jeanne Robinson for Jayden and Daniella
  • David Holly (health)
  • Jamie Reid (health)
  • Ethan Hopkins (health)
  • Sandra Dunn (health)
  • Mary Karne for Maryla
  • Sheryl Gattey (health)
  • Ann Fields for Tamera
  • Carol Travis for her brother
  • Joan Patten for Sierra
  • Sean G. and the unhoused of Oakland
  • The ministry of the Interfaith Council of Alameda County
  • The ministry of the Oakland Community Organizations
  • The ministry of Interfaith Movement of Human Integrity
  • All our teens and young adults
  • Maxine O’Guinn (recuperating from surgery)
  • Pastor Tanner as she participates in two conferences linking justice work in the US and Palestine


I will be leaving immediately following worship on Sunday for Washington D.C. and the Annual Meeting of the Board of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.  As part of the meeting we will be visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture. I will return home on Tuesday evening.