Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sermons, rock bands, and other contemplations

So recently I was talking about forgiveness in my own special way.  Then there was the bit about using an example from my life for a sermon.  That made me think about pastors and the responsibility they have.  I mean, not only are they responsible for knowing and living out the things they preach about, they are also responsible for the fact that they spiritually lead others.  The Bible says that those in leadership positions are held to a higher standard of accountability, but what does that mean?  It's enough to give me ulcers.  And make me think about the reason I'm kind of afraid to give sermons anymore.  (Or be in a rock band.)

I went on a long missions trip the summer I graduated from college, and the tech guy on the team was also a Christian ministries minor maybe?  Anyway, his job, aside from connecting the right wires, was to give sermons/messages/whatever you want to call them at the places that wanted us to do more than just music and drama.  He had this one sermon about forgiveness that was really touching the first few times I heard it.  He was on the forensics (speech team), so he was very good at delivering a memorized thing in a natural-sounding way.  But after the first several times, it really started to sound rehearsed, especially the more I got to know about him.

We were hardly close friends by the end of the months of preparation and the weeks of actual touring together, but I knew him a little better, and I learned that one of the things he really struggled with was forgiveness.  I wonder how it felt to him to keep giving that speech over and over again when he couldn't live it out.  Did it make his heart harder (to borrow biblical language) every time he gave his Do-What-I-Say-Not-What-I-Do speech?  Did it make him feel more guilty?  More like a failure?

There's a saying about how the message we most want to preach is often the one we most need to hear, but what happens if we keep preaching it over and over again and don't actually learn from it?  Maybe if you look at it as a performance, you don't mind?  I mean, professional musicians earn their keep singing and playing the same songs over and over and over.  How do they not hate the songs and the sounds of their own music after that much repetition?  How does it not end up sounding like meaningless noise that isn't worth spit?

In my writing, I write about the same things over and over.  I attack them from different angles, creep up on them from new directions, link them to different pitons, but they're often still the same ideas.  How do I not get tired of it?  Narcissism?

I wish I knew some pastors I could ask about this.  Your thoughts?

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