Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

Creating Change from the Bottom Up

Two weeks after the [2008 presidential] election, I traveled to India to meet Christian pioneers seeking to overturn India's institutional form of discrimination, the caste system. One scholar said to me, "You Americans are celebrating the election of a black man after only 250 years of slavery. We are still waiting for liberation after 4,000 years of living under caste." The Dalit Freedom Network works on behalf of 160 million Dalits, formerly known as untouchables. Though nominally Hindu, Dalits are not allowed in Hindu temples, and in recent years have increasingly turned to other religions, including Christianity. Just above them are "Other Backward Castes," which comprise more than half of India's population of 600 million. An organization called Truthseekers spearheads efforts on their behalf. Activists coming out of these castes see Hinduism as oppressive, designed to keep them in their place. Any sign of agitation prompts a response, often violent, from fundamentalist Hindus who want to maintain the status quo.

Joseph D'Souza, president of the All India Christian Council, said, "Early missionaries directed their efforts toward the Brahmins, the upper castes, hoping the liberating message of the gospel would trickle down to the oppressed. It didn't happen. Now we are working from the bottom up." As he described the history of Christianity in India, I could not help but think of parallels in my own country. Some evangelicals are wringing their hands over losing access to the corridors of power [in the recent election]. Maybe it's time for us, too, to work from the bottom up.

Related Sermon Illustrations

Group of Mothers Makes Big Impact on Gang War Zone

In the early 1990s, gang violence erupted in Boyle Heights, a section of East Los Angeles. Eight gangs were in conflict in the parish around the Dolores Mission Catholic Church. Killings ...

[Read More]

Businessman's Vision Leads to 100 Little League Teams for Underprivileged Kids

On his way to work one day, Chicago insurance broker Bob Muzikowski saw a derelict ball field full of trash in a gang-infested neighborhood. The kids there could use a real Little ...

[Read More]