Tag Archives: Sermons

Further Thoughts On Church

I wanted to layout some further thoughts from my rambling post on Monday. First of all, thank you to everyone who commented, it really lent me some insight. So, undoubtedly, some of what I write below is in response to some of the thoughts shared. I’m also encouraged that so many people have found churches that break the traditional mold I tend to see everywhere I go.  So, my thoughts below aren’t about individual churches (if the shoe doesn’t fit…), but rather a question or thought about the “Christian” community as a whole.

The Bible

People, inside of the church and outside, have a lot of different views of this book. It’s authoritative History, good advice, fairy tale, or oppressive manifesto. It’s ancient for sure, but like many old text, there are some tidbits of advice that are universal. Christians claim the Bible as their authoritative text, but most don’t seem to have ever read it themselves. I think they should read it. But, then there’s also the crew that jumps on the Bible-in-a-Year bandwagon and attempts to cram through the whole book time and again. My main concern is that we are reading but not doing what it says.  And by doing what it says, I don’t mean condemning people who don’t believe it’s rules, but rather following the admonishes ourselves (Love your enemies, Feed the poor, put others before yourselves, do not judge, etc). I’d almost think we’d be fine just putting away our Bibles for the rest of our lives and spend our time actually trying to implement what we know we should and aren’t.


Most of my thought falls into the same category as the Bible. Isn’t there a point when the pastor, or the group, re-evaluates and says “this isn’t working.” There’s benefit to public speaking, informing, challenging, etc. But when a large group of people get together week after week to motivate themselves to follow Jesus and do what the Bible says, isn’t there a point when you raise a question as to whether it’s actually happening or not? I’m not an outsider by any means, but I think any logical person could spend a few weeks around a church and say there is a huge gaping difference between what they are preaching and what they are doing.
Part two of sermons is this idea that one person in an entire congregation (almost always a male) some how is gifted to be the only one who speaks to the entire group on a weekly basis. I’m sorry, but I see absolutely no basis for that in the Bible I read.


Some people love the music at church. I used to, but now I can’t stand it. My opinion of the singing is really summed up in this one passage, Amos 5:21-24. Part of which reads:

“Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.

But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!”

I can’t imagine we’ve come much farther then the Israelites in those days, in fact, I think we are probably in many ways far worse.

Communion and Sacraments

I feel similar about these as the Music above. I don’t want to diminish the value of rituals or sacred acts, I think they are a very important part of ours or any culture. And yet, they’re sacredness to me is so diminished by our inaction, that in many ways I struggle to see the value at all.
And I’ll be honest, especially for all you non-Christians out there, I just find communion bizarre. I dig that it was originally done at a passover meal, and it’s connection to the Hebrew prayers over the bread and wine at Passover and Shabbat. But, the whole drink my blood and eat my body stuff? I still don’t get it.


Most folks who gave their reason behind church mentioned community. I couldn’t agree more. I think church has been a great way for me to meet other people from my community (both geographically and common values). However, simply community, in and of itself, isn’t a very compelling reason to attend. Many people find deeper community with others through a whole host of other activities (sporting events, meals, video games, cooking, hobbies, outings, etc). Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge advocate of community, I just think pointing to church (particularly Sunday morning) as an example of deep Christian community is pretty disappointing.

[photo credit]

Why the sermon?

I’ll be honest I like listening to a good sermon every now and then. I could list a few of my favorites for you; at some point maybe I’ll even provide links to mp3’s of sermon’s that really moved me. There is also a good bit of Biblical support for sermons. Jesus seemed to like to sermonize it up every so often; my personal favorite is the “Sermon on the Mount.” Paul had quite a few lengthy sermons, and the first thing Peter does once he has the Holy Spirit is give a sermon. The word “Preach” shows up in the NIV 123 times (according to Biblegateway). Paul even goes off about the Rights of an Apostle in I Corinthians 9 (which is probably where we get our justification for having a paid pastor). The idea of a weekly meeting for a sermon probably comes from one of my favorite passages Acts 2:42-47.

So by now your probably thinking my goal was to answer the question presented in the title: Why the Sermon? Your maybe even a little bit convinced, or you’ve at least added some Bible verses to support it. So if that’s all you wanted, stop now and read no further.

I still wonder “Why the sermon?” If we are going to follow the Acts passage we should be meeting together daily, and also going to each others homes and eating together; we should be selling our possessions and sharing everything in common. And maybe our pastors should even be doing miraculous signs.
If we are going to hear out Paul’s words to the Corinthians then maybe we should also be advocating for more circuit preachers. Maybe we should stop the calls for money and just be giving it.
And when I look at most of the preaching done in the early church it seems very much the focus was on the necessity of getting the story of Jesus right. It seems the goal wasn’t to have something nifty to say each Sunday, but rather it was to preach the story to those who don’t know it, and to clarify Jesus to those who might have heard a incorrect message concerning him.

Maybe, once we’ve got a pretty good handle on the story and we’ve got a decent idea of what this Christian life is requiring of us (if your still real confused, read Jesus’ words he gives at least one sermon that is quite straight forward), then we should quit the sermons and just starting doing what we are supposed to be doing. What does that look like? I’m not quite sure yet.