Letter to St.Teresa’s Parish
By Charles Rush
December 7, 2003
To the members of St. Teresa's,
ago, I preached a sermon here at Christ
Church on Reformation Sunday that
gave a pointed critique of the differences between Protestants and Catholics.
In it, I made some jokes at the expense of Catholics and gave some summary
characterizations that were offensive. [Please note: This letter replaces
the 11-2-2003 sermon on our website -- Ed.]
I take full
responsibility for my hurtful tone. I would like to apologize to those
fortunate to be trained in preaching by David Buttrick,
recently retired from Vanderbilt. He encouraged us to be winsome, sharp, and
feisty in the pulpit. I didn't need a lot of encouragement, just some
permission. And it is one of my strengths. Rarely do people fall asleep during
sometimes I can take it too far, and in offending my neighbors, I stand
corrected. We live in a very inner-connected world because of the Internet.
People from far distant countries occasionally read our sermons and write
responses. That interconnectedness is forcing all of us to shape up. Until
recently, I thought that I was simply preaching to a small group of people, but
that is not the case. A much wider world is keeping us honest. This latest
sermon has been a reminder of that and a learning opportunity.
when we have significant differences, it is important to go the extra mile to
be careful in defining them without widening the rift. Ecumenical understanding
and good will are likely to be a central challenge in the era opening before us,
and the importance of care will grow.
might imagine, Father Harahan and I are good friends and respectful of one
another's scholarship and ministry. I've met with him, heard his concerns, and
I take them to heart. Likewise, our congregations share an abundance of
community leaders that work together to make our community a great place. It is
vital that we work together in a spirit of trust and good will.
that trust is only re-established over a long time and I am committed to it.
May today be the first step in that journey. I am
Rev. Dr. Charles T. Rush, Jr.
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