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“The Sermon Chop Shop”

On May 12, Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite of the “On Faith” blog (A Washington Post and Newsweek joint venture of sorts) had a post titled “The Sermon Chop Shop,” where she went after the likes of Sean Hannity for going after the new preacher at Trinity United, Reverend Moss. Reverend Thistlethwaite writes:

First,’s staff ridiculed a Moss sermon, objecting to ways in which the young pastor was plainly trying to make his message appeal to the younger generation and their cultural images. Then other right-wing pundits like Sean Hannity used those same spare parts this past weekend to attempt a further political spin.

Yet, the weekend before these new attacks began, what were the topics of Rev. Moss’ sermons? Love.

On May 4, 2008, he preached, in succession, “Three Sonnets on Love: Sonnet 1: Wider Than Any Ocean, Sonnet 2: Search Me O God, Sonnet 3: Homemade Love.” Moss told The Chicago Tribune that the prior week he had spent most of his time searching for a scripture that would speak to that difficult time. He said he found the answer in the First Epistle of John and the answer “was simply one word: love.” Did any of these right-wing media outlets report that? Of course not.

And to show her support of Reverend Moss…

I know Rev. Moss personally and he is a wonderful and caring pastor; he is also studying at Chicago Theological Seminary in our Doctor of Ministry Program. He has invited me to preach at Trinity United Church of Christ on May 25, 2008 as part of our United Church of Christ launch of a “Sacred Conversation on Race.”

May 25 is the reported date of Rev. Pfleger’s rant on Hillary. That’s how Obama’s supporters have a “sacred conversation on race?” Was Rev. Thistlethwaite in the audience to hear what Rev. Pfleger had to say? If so, why didn’t she report it?

Rev. Thistlethwaite ends with:

I certainly expect that the right wing Sermon Chop Shop will be open for business that morning. Thus, I will be sure to post the full text of my sermon at Trinity on the On Faith website here. I would hate to have our sacred conversation on race in the United Church of Christ become just that many more spare parts peddled out of the chop shop to generate false controversy.

And please post Rev. Pfleger’s entire sermon, too. I’ve already seen the video, but text would be nice.



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