Texts: Amos 6:1, 4-7; 1 Timothy 6:6-19; Luke 16:19-31
Last Fall, students at Yale, Wellesley, and Oberlin began demanding “trigger warnings” from their professors if they were going to be lecturing or assigning readings about ideas that might be disturbing. They argued that the university owed it to them to be a “safe space” where they would be protected from unsettling realities. The students claimed that even subtle challenges in their direction should be labeled “microaggressions.”
This Fall, the dean at the University of Chicago was having none of it, and sent a letter to all incoming freshmen warning there would be no trigger warnings at Chicago and that universities were not meant to be safe spaces. Facebook and Twitter erupted in controversy. The Lutheran campus pastor at the University of Washington sided with aggrieved students and promised that she would offer trigger warnings if she were going to preach on traumatic topics and would do her best to make the campus church a safe space.
Hence I begin this sermon suggesting that the Bible may require trigger warnings, and religion may not always provide safe spaces, and some of the prophets could be seen as microaggressors.