Saturday, August 16, 2003


The Reverend Alvin O'Neal Jackson of National City Christian Church in Washington DC was discovered to have been preaching-- almost verbatim, it would seem-- from other pastors' sermons, and has been doing so for at least a year-and-a-half, without once giving credit to his sources.

Read the story in the Post.

Saint Francis of Assisi was known to preach extemporaneously, sometimes by selecting three random Bible verses and weaving them into a sermon. I have never yet seen a Zen master give a dharma talk with a printed speech in front of him (maybe such masters exist; I don't know). I'd counsel the good Reverend to meditate on these things as he faces the bitter consequences of his unmindful actions.


[UPDATE, Aug 19: Jackson has publicly apologized to his congregation and offers "no excuses" for his behavior. Many in the congregation applauded. I think Jackson did the right thing, and did it quickly, without stonewalling. Whether he'll do it again... who knows? Here's hoping he won't. Maybe this will prove to be a minor chapter in what appears to be an otherwise distinguished pastoral career. Whatever the reality inside his heart, this was the right public step to take, and Christians should forgive-- not because he asked for forgiveness, but because that's The Way of Things. The Way of the Force.]

No comments: