Welcome to the final episode of this season of Between Two Pews! Today, Sarah and Stephen are joined by Rev. Damon Lynch, Jr., a cornerstone in Cincinnati civil rights activism. They tackle a divisive passage from Luke twelve: Jesus as a cause of division, not unity, and the kinds of challenges that are associated with being one of his followers.

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“I have come to cast fire upon the earth, and how I wish it were already ablaze! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided:

father against son and son against father,

mother against daughter and daughter against mother,

mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain,’ and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?”

Luke 12:49-56
ABOUT REV. DAMON LYNCH II: Rev. Damon Lynch, Jr. is the former pastor of the New Jerusalem Baptist Church, a position he held for nearly 52 years from 1970-2022. He is now Pastor Emeritus of New Jerusalem. He received his Bachelor of Science from the Cincinnati Christian University in 1970 and an MBA from the Graduate Theological Foundation at Notre Dame in 1991, where he was voted class orator. Rev. Lynch is also the recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Temple Bible College, an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the college of Mt. St. Joseph and the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion. Among many awards and honors, he has received are the Great Living Cincinnatian from the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, the Wright Overstreet Award from the NAACP, the Unite Way’s Joseph A. Hall award, the Lion Award for Community Service from the Urban League, People of Courage Award from Channel 9 and the Cincinnati Herald, and he was the first recipient of the Humanitarian Award from UC Health and College of Medicine. Rev. Lynch was inducted into the Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame in the Capitol Building in Columbus in 2012. Among the highlights of his long career is the organization and planning of the first Martin Luther King Jr. March in Cincinnati along with the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and Virginia Coffey, and the organizing and planning for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. He states that another pivotal point was the planning and implementing of the Billy Graham Crusade held in the Great American Ball Park. Rev. Lynch and his wife Barbara are the proud parents of Rev. Damon Lynch, III and Dr. Cristal M. Lynch, MD. They have 5 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren, who are the joy of their lives and hope for the future.