All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.



Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!

9/22/2015

Reflection on Sunday

Note: I originally started writing this post 2 weeks ago.

Yesterday I filled in for our preacher who is on vacation.  My text was Romans chapter 1.  The take away point was that the really bad sins listed at the end of the chapter were the result of refusing to recognize and honor God as God, and any person or nation that does not honor God is on a path of destruction.  One sermon illustration was predictably, Kim Davis.

One of the upsides of being a fill in is that by virtue of being "new" folks are going to tune into what is being said.  Even though I've taught and preached for this same pulpit several times in the last 15 years, I haven't done it regularly in some time.  Most of the crowd was a little more tuned in than what they normally would be because of the novelty.

I'm not in any danger of becoming the next Billy Graham.  If I was called to serve as a pastor, I'd be a little surprised.  Even as an amateur, which is what I consider myself, there are some things happening in the church that are plain to me.

First, Christian people want to know that or if what they are doing is right.  As in right according to what scripture says.  They also want to know or at least have their belief in basic doctrine and morality reinforced in a public setting.  A "thus saith the Lord" with book chapter and verse means a lot.

Second, people don't care as much about if you mess up in your presentation as long as the message is correct and you are passionate in presenting it.  Far better to tell the truth poorly than to homiletically entertain the crowd with sweet nothings.

Third, hearing the truth will shock people.  Sometimes this is good, sometimes the results are unpredictable.  Either way it seems like the truth is in such short supply that just hearing it will get a reaction. 

On Sunday, one group (most of those who spoke to me afterward) were praising the lesson for different reasons.  Overall they were in favor of what they found in it.  The other group (the minority) didn't like what was said.  Although its nice to get compliments, its far more satisfying to know that people are wrestling with the message.  One women in particular was struggling with her rationalization hamster trying to spin the wheel so she could still buy the opinions of NPR, while simultaneously being a good church going person.

By and large the American church seems oblivious to my observations.  There is such a push for programs, "involvement", "relationship", "community" or some buzz word du jour, that words like "truth" get pushed aside.  Where is the Christian world view?  So few seem to have one anymore. 

I like the church I go to.  I'm not bashing my local congregation or churches in general.  Its not my job to accuse the brethren.  If an amateur can stir up a body of believers with a plain Jane sermon, why aren't pulpits filled with professionals firing America up into a full blown revival?

3 comments:

  1. Susan2:41 PM

    Unfortunately, the ear tickler crowd will always find something wrong the second they start to feel even the tiniest twinge of discomfort.

    I would not ever worry about them, or let them intimidate you into dumbing down your message. Then you would be disobeying God, who says to not change a single thing of His word.

    When I was attending a church where I used to live, I used to ask God every Sunday on the drive over if there was something He wanted me to hear or know, please make sure I get it.

    On at least 3 separate occasions, my pastor's voice would totally change timbre during his sermon. He was a former fire chief and that would be what his voice would turn into.
    He told me when I remarked upon it that he never noticed the change at all. But I certainly did and I always paid attention.

    I am sure you already do this, but when you let God run the message, even if your notes say different from what you find yourself suddenly saying, just be honored and blessed that God is reaching out to the congregation through you, and you are making a difference for Him.

    Having the trust of your Pastor is also quite an honor. He doesn't sound like the kind of fellow who would give his podium to a fellow who would preach against God.

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  2. "but when you let God run the message, even if your notes say different from what you find yourself suddenly saying, just be honored and blessed that God is reaching out to the congregation through you, and you are making a difference for Him."

    Your comment reminded me of a scene in an old movie "A Man Called Peter." He had prepared a message for a group of serviceman at the Naval Academy, but just before going out to deliver it, he delivered an entirely different message instead and never used his prepared notes at all.

    A few days later Pearl Harbor was bombed and those same servicemen were headed out to fight. Only then did Peter understand why the message had "changed" at the last minute.

    Moving scene. Worth watching. Great movie as well.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MExDSAoXNOI

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    Replies
    1. Susan7:47 PM

      Remember when Hollywood put inspirational stuff into their movies? Mrs. Miniver is one such movie. The vicar makes the most inspiring message to his congregation during the first service after the air raid they endured. Even now when I watch the movie and watch this scene, it is so inspiring to me.
      Those who keep their ears, mind and hearts open and are willing to listen to God, will hear quite a lot.

      Your scene is also like my favorite scene in the recent movie God is Not Dead. The scene is where Dean Cain is visiting his mother who suffers from dementia. They are sitting in the semi darkness and all of a sudden she starts talking to him very lucidly, in words that you just know are a message from God. Gave me the chills just watching that, knowing that it could actually happen if God wanted it to.

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