My intention is not to decry, but if it appears so inadvertently, do believe me when I say that I mean to speak as a preacher ought: never with narrow-minded particularity but instead, prophetically, reflecting on the state of humankind, including you and me.

Please observe that I begin in a positive fashion, as Jesus admonished over and over, as in the parable in Luke 14 about the impolite guests at a banquet. They rush to the best seats but then have to be asked, despite the embarrassment, to sit lower to make room for someone more important. And as in Luke 18, the parable of the self-proclaimed devout Pharisee and the not-so-humble tax-collector whom Jesus lifts up.