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All Souls Unitarian Church, Tulsa, OK


Jul 31, 2016

The sermon was delivered on Sunday, July 31, 2016, at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by Rev. Dr. Marlin Lavanhar, Senior Minister.

SERMON DESCRIPTION

We, as humans, think we can predict the outcomes of our actions and decisions, yet life is governed by unintended consequences. At one time, the British government attempted to reduce the problem of venomous Cobra snakes in India by creating a reward for dead snakes. Initially, it worked to reduce the threat, but eventually many people began to breed Cobra’s in order to profit from the reward. The government then stopped offering rewards which lead to breeders setting worthless snakes free - increasing the menace significantly.  

In the 70’s and 80’s, the CIA funded Afghan Mujahideen rebels to defeat the Soviets. This inadvertently lead to the rise of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

During the 20’s, prohibition in America increased organized crime and corruption.

 

Personal and policy decisions tend to created unintended consequences. How can we prepare for unintended consequences in our individual and communal lives? Also, as our city and nation discuss ways to move forward politically and practically, let us pay attention to the humbling role of unforeseen outcomes and the conflict of interests which can cause them.

Special thanks to All Souls member Scott Asbiornson, one of our recent “auction sermon” winners, for suggesting this intriguing topic.  

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