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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Unequal Air Time

Ed Standifer in pulpit at Ellenton
Methodist Church, circa 1956

As a kid, how did you picture Satan? Now how do you envision him? Why the change? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1321).

It’s not that I don’t believe in “principalities and powers” It’s just that I believe man’s heart of darkness really doesn’t need much outside assistance in doing evil—“I can do that myself, thank you!” On the other hand I know full well that there is a God of grace and forgiveness for I have been guided from above despite my worst efforts and most adamant self-centeredness. Man’s relentless pursuit of selfishness can transmute the greatest evil into the greatest good, or so he thinks, through the magic of blindness. Man’s perceptions tend to coalesce around and support his innermost desires. Therefore his darkest deeds become white as snow in his own eyes.

My father was a Methodist preacher, and I recall he largely preached the Gospel (good news) and spent little time lifting up the devil. It’s like he knew we were well enough acquainted with evil and the devil, so he spent his time lifting up Jesus and his love and vistas of redemption. Now I know that all would not have approved of Dad’s sermons intent as people can be on espying evil everywhere and desiring obsessive focus on it, but I have come to see my father’s homilies as nurturing showers of love bestowed on congregations thirsty for hope and courage to meet daily life.

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