This sermon was considerably less disturbing than the last one, possibly because it was more of a sermonette fit around a dance recital. Still, there was a sermon, and the recital was certainly not message-free. And, while I don't agree with a lot of what was said, I have no problems with messages of love and acceptance - or the concept that there's something wrong with a number of modern social norms and expectations.
I'd ask why I went, but it's fairly clear: Because I got to take a road trip with Debbie, misswong77, spawrhawk, and k_magic; and also because I got to see a dance performance by their friend Tammy's group (She's angelsnear, I believe).
Still, I need to deal with the question of why I found the first sermon so incredibly disturbing - chilling, even. I believe I've finally figured it out, so here goes:
In my opinion and experience, there are several sources of evil in the world. There are truly evil people - but they are so few and far between that they can almost be ignored entirely.
Then there's that unfortunate primate herd mentality we've inherited, the one that with no justification at all tells us that the people in our clique, our gang, our town, our state, our country are superior, and all others are somehow subhuman.
It's always easier to torture someone when they're just a towelhead, isn't it?
This is why most cliques make me nervous, and why any form of "We're number one!" can make me more than a little nauseous.
But as far as I can see, the single largest source of evil in the world is unquestioning faith, the kind that allows people to follow a simple set of beliefs to their logical conclusion without ever considering that they might be wrong.
There are, to be sure, great things that be attributed to it. But the blame for many of the world's greatest ills - the crusades, the Spanish inquisition, and Nazism, to name a few - can be squarely laid at the doorstep of faith.
And so, when someone starts lecturing about unwavering devotion to tasks laid before them by the lord, I feel the world darken just a little bit more.