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The Shepherd and the Sheep

2016 April 29

Bishop David Epps

The Cathedral of Christ the King
Fourth Sunday of Easter
April 17, 2016

Sermon Link: The Shepherd and the Sheep

Do You Love Me?

2016 April 27

Bishop David Epps

The Cathedral of Christ the King
Third Sunday of Easter
April 10, 2016

Sermon Link: Do You Love Me?

When Faith Falters

2016 April 25

Bishop David Epps

The Cathedral of Christ the King
Second Sunday of Easter
April 3, 2016

Sermon Link: When Faith Falters

The Smarmy Business of Politics

2016 April 23

Bishop David EppsIn 1988, I became involved in the local political scene. I had never been involved in politics and decided that I would get involved. So, I joined the Fayette County Republican Party and got to work. It was an interesting time. The Republicans were just emerging as a powerful voice. The Democrats had dominated Southern Politics since the War Between the States but that was changing. A whole new group of conservatives, energized largely by the candidacy of Pat Robertson, suddenly became interested and active.

There was an “Old Guard” in place in Fayette Republican politics and there was a bitter struggle for control between the Old Guard and the “New Breed.” It wasn’t pretty, but the New Breed—by fair elections—ousted most of the Old Guard and installed new people in most of the positions. I was selected as one of the new Vice-Presidents (there were several).

But, as I and others were about to learn, the fight was not over. When the duly elected local delegates arrived at the state convention, somehow the Party refused to seat the elected delegates from Fayette County and installed the members of the Old Guard. I, for one, was stunned. How could elected delegates simply be put out? Well, there were rules in place that allowed democracy to be thwarted. And it was. The New Breed still ruled in Fayette County but had no voice at the State level. I was disgusted. So disgusted, in fact, that shortly afterward I withdrew from participation in Party politics. “If things are this nasty at the local level within the same party,” I thought, “what must it be like at the state and national levels?” I didn’t want to know.

It is no surprise to me that both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are complaining about the system being rigged. As people are finding out, it may not matter what the electorate does at the ballot box during primaries… assuming there is even a primary to actually vote in. It is also no wonder to me that people on both the Left and the Right are clamoring for someone who is seen as “outside the system.” Someone said that “politics is a contact sport.” No, boxing and football are contact sports. Politics is a smarmy, distasteful, cut-throat, back-stabbing business where members of the Mafia might feel right at home.

During those in-fighting days of 1988, one of the members of the Republican Party, who knew I was a minister, said, “What in the world is a man of the cloth doing being involved in something like this?” That question, a very legitimate one, was, for me, the deciding factor. He was right. I had no business being involved in such an endeavor.
Donald Trump has called the system of selecting nominees “corrupt.” I can’t disagree with him. Democrat Bernie Sanders has almost as many delegates as Hillary Clinton but, there too, the deck is stacked. Because of the so-called “super delegates,” he really never had much of a chance.

Back in 1988, my dad said that Pat Robertson was not qualified to be President of the United States. When I asked why he said, “I think he’s probably an honest man. That alone makes him unqualified.” Sadly, I think my father may have been right.

David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Sharpsburg, GA (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese which consists of Georgia and Tennessee (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and the Associate Endorser for the Department of the Armed Forces, U. S. Military Chaplains, ICCEC. He may contacted at frepps@ctkcec.org.

Mixed Martial Arts Death

2016 April 20
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by Admin

Bishop David EppsAnyone who has ever seen a Mixed Martial Arts professional contest has to conclude that it is one of the most brutal sports currently on the scene. In fact, I have mentioned to my wife several times after viewing bouts on television, “One of these days someone is going to get killed in the ring.” And, finally, someone did.

According to the New York Post, “A mixed martial arts fighter from Portugal died Tuesday, three days after being hospitalized with injuries from a fight. Total Extreme Fighting announced the death of Joao Carvalho, The 28-year-old Carvalho was knocked out in the third round of a welterweight fight against Charlie Ward at the National Stadium in Dublin on Saturday. TEF said Carvalho was assessed by doctors and medical staff at the on-site medical office ‘as per normal procedure,’ before being taken to the hospital. On Sunday, (a spokesman) said in a statement that three doctors and paramedic staff were at the fight, which ‘ensured that the seriousness of Joao’s condition was recognized and swift action taken.'”

The rounds in MMA contests are five minutes each, nearly twice the length of boxing rounds, although there are far less rounds that in boxing. The gloves, if they can be called that, offer little to no protection and vicious punches, elbows, knees, and kicks batter the fighters mercilessly. Also permitted are locks on joints and fighters can apply pressure that can cause a participant to pass out. Time and time again I have watched as a fighter, on the floor, received punches and elbows to his head. In other words, with the fighter’s head on the floor, with no place to go, his head is repeatedly punched, being struck by both the punch and the floor. In my observation experiences, it is not at all uncommon for fighters to be knocked out. This, of course, means a likely concussion. The sport has not been around long enough to assess long-term injuries and brain damage but my suspicion is that that the long-term damage suffered by NFL players will pale in comparison to what may be revealed in the decades to come regarding the health of MMA fighters.

In fairness, I should report that, in a former life when I was in much better condition, I was a martial arts instructor and occasional competitor. I have participated in full-contact karate bouts but nothing like the MMA contests. This is not to say that MMA fighters are not courageous—they certainly are that. It takes courage to step into an MMA cage. But the sport, in my opinion, does not adequately regulate itself. Across the country, younger and younger people are training in Mixed Martial Arts and I would never take that away from them. But the sport is dangerous and needs to take steps to reduce the possibilities of serious injuries or death.

The MMA Weekly reported, “Portuguese welterweight Joao Carvalho tragically passed away on Monday night at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, Ireland, after a TKO loss to Charlie Ward at the Total Extreme Fighting (TEF) Championship at the National Boxing Stadium on Saturday.”

Carvalho didn’t “pass away.” He was killed. He was beaten to death by injuries suffered in the ring. Charlie Ward, the winning fighter, said that he started pulling his punches in the final round when it was obvious Carvalho was in trouble. Finally, Ward launched a series of nine punches that ended the fight. Three days later, Carvalho died.

He is not the first. As of April 2013, eight MMA fighters had died as a result of ring injuries. If the sport, or the government, does not take steps to de-brutalize this activity, Carvalho will certainly not be the last.

David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Sharpsburg, GA (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese which consists of Georgia and Tennessee (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and the Associate Endorser for the Department of the Armed Forces, U. S. Military Chaplains, ICCEC. He may contacted at frepps@ctkcec.org.

We Are Easter People

2016 April 18
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Bishop David Epps

The Cathedral of Christ the King
Easter Sunday
March 27, 2016

Sermon Link: We Are Easter People

What Palm Sunday Means to Us

2016 April 15
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Bishop David Epps

The Cathedral of Christ the King
Palm Sunday
March 20, 2016

Sermon Link: What Palm Sunday Means to Us