Happy Friday, everyone!
Two days ago, I got a lot of really good comments (all of your comments are always really good, by the way) on what Christians maybe, possibly should pray for on National Day of Prayer. Note that I always leave myself an ‘out’ by putting ‘maybe,’ just in case you disagree. Well, I got some of you saying ‘Amen,’ some ‘maybe,’ and some ‘I’m not going to pray for those! You’re an idiot!’
What I became interested in were the few unexpected comments to this effect:
Kyle: “if someone stood up in church and said what you just did, i think i would die of a heart-attack.”
Sodabug: “if i raised this in my church, i’d get people backing away from me and less than an hour later, a pastor coming to “have a chat” with me…”
Sherri: “keep talking this way and you’ll NEVER have a church full of people…”
The message was clear. People who read my blog don’t like using the ‘Shift’ key. The second message was also clear. If this were a real sermon in church, a lot of people would not stand for it (even though the commenters may have been giving me an ‘Amen.’) Maybe it was a terrible message…I said maybe we need to pray for recessions, wars, and sin. Saying that again, it sounds pretty awful! Maybe if I said those things in church, I’d deserve to be walked out on, or fired. Good thing one of the points of this blog is to say things that aren’t really kosher for church without thinking them through. It makes it more fun that way, and there’s no consequences. And I just want to thank each of you right now for not shutting down your internet browser whenever I say something dumb. It warms my heart that you stick around.
But I wondered, what sort of message would a pastor have to speak that would actually make you walk out of church? Not a sermon that is poorly delivered or ill-prepared, but an offensive message. I listened to a pastor of a large, vibrant and young congregation challenge his people to leave his church if they felt God was calling them elsewhere. Guess where everyone was the next Sunday…right back in their ‘assigned’ seats. Not good enough pastor!
It probably would take something really horrendous for any polite, non-judgmental Christian (that seems redundant) to actually be rude enough to walk out of church.
I scoured the internet and friends for stories of terrible sermons (not my own, naturally) to ask you:
What Sermon Would Make You Walk Out of Church?
“A sermon given by a lady at a church where we went while on vacation where in she asserted that the word “Eucharist” was a combination of the words “You” and “Caress” and how Christ was caressing you in the Eucharist.”
“A sermon given by a pastor who believes strongly in inclusiveness. He worked jazz music into his talk as a major theme and said Judaism, Christianity, and Islam were God’s variations on a theme – His improvisations, interpretations, inventions.”
“The pastor began to go on and on about the dangers of giving in to idolatry… What I didn’t expect was that he would begin to scream at the women in the congregation who were wearing jewelry (including me)! He called us all idolators and proceeded to have the ushers pass around collection plates and demanded that we all take off our jewelry and put it in the collection plate.”
“On the very Christmas-y topic of contraception. “Reflect for a moment,” thundered the preacher, “what would have happened if Mary had used birth control!”
“It was Easter Sunday, and the pastor of a large church saw fit to talk for 20 minutes about all the good books the congregation should be reading…no word on, I don’t know…the Resurrection!”
“The death of Jesus was pre-ordained by God for our salvation,” explained the preacher, “and the person who understood this better than anyone was Mary. In fact,” he continued, “Mary was so intent on our salvation that, if the centurions hadn’t nailed Jesus to the cross, Mary herself would have done so.”
Still haven’t walked out? What about this sermon?
Wow, that sermon actually makes me look pretty good! What’s the worst sermon you’ve ever heard? Would you actually walk out on any of these sermons? How many bad sermons would it take to get you to leave your church permanently? Me? I’d walk out as soon as I heard ‘Jesus’ and ‘Caress’ in the same sentence. Blargh.
May the Lord bless you, whatever message He brings this Sunday!