In my sermon yesterday I noted that in the late 1800's Horatio Alger, Jr. published 100 books for boys which all followed a "Rags to Respectability" formula. My point was the prevalence of the underdog theme in literature and culture. Please note that I did not refer to Alger as anything more than the author of the books. Following the service a visiting dignitary told me that since he had learned that Horatio Alger, Jr. was forced out of the Unitarian ministry for his elicit relationships with two teen-aged boys, HE would never use Alger in a sermon illustration.
Perhaps that is good advice. I will no longer make reference to anyone who is of less than stellar character in my preaching. Martin Luther King Sunday will be dropped from the schedule. There will be no further mention of John F. Kennedy, Thomas Jefferson, or Joseph Campbell. In fact, as I think about it, were I to eliminate everyone of less than stellar character from my references, there would be no one left but me and you.
And I have my doubts about you.