I want Sunday Morning segregated… by depth of knowledge. A recent article in Christianity Today says the “Many churchgoers want Sunday morning segregated… by politics.” I’ve never really given that topic any thought, but I guess I’ll have to investigate that at a later time.
It did get me thinking about something else however. In preparation in considering visiting a church in the area, I started with watching some of their recent Sunday morning sermons’ series.
Within the first five minutes of the pastor’s message I had decided that I could easily scratch this one off my list. No. scratching it off the list didn’t make me feel better about it either.
You see, in helping me research churches, someone went to great lengths to investigate a few churches and finally recommended that I make a visit to this particular one.
After five minutes of this pastor’s message however, it was quite unlikely I would make the visit. I don’t see anyway around my next statement. I struggle to find alternative words but have been unsuccessful.
As I watched this sermon online at the church’s website, only one thing came to mind; why was this pastor speaking as if his audience were third-graders in elementary school?
I paused the video and though leaving the website up on my screen, I moved on to other work. There’s just no way I can sit here and continue listening. Well, a little while later I did go back and begin watching the sermon again.
With the passing of another five minutes, my previous thought not only remained the same but was cemented in concrete. Nearly every word the pastor used made me feel as if I were listening to handfuls of fingernails screeching down a blackboard.
It wasn’t that the pastor was using bad words. He wasn’t speaking “down” to his audience. He was simply speaking in a manner that led me to believe he was addressing an audience that had never been to church before and knew nothing about God.
He literally began with explaining who God was. And began reciting 1 Genesis v.1 to his audience.
I paused the video yet again but still leaving the website up on my screen, I simply flipped over to the other windows I was working on. I was truly torn by the dilemma this situation was causing me.
A multi-ton weight of guilt filled my heart because some might feel that I was saying, “I’m better than this,” and, “I’m smarter than this.”
It had nothing to do with being “better than this.” It did however, have to do with the fact that I am not a church-newcomer. I am not new to the faith. I am not unchurched.
I mean no offense. I don’t feel I’m being snooty. But, for the most part, I know who God is. I have been intensely studying the bible for years. As an ordained minister and a student wrapping up a Bachelor of Divinity program, I was just taken-aback by his sermon.
Don’t wait for it. I’m not going to mention names or locations. I am writing this more for my own sake than anything else. I am certainly not writing to lambaste anyone or any church. Also, this post should not be taken as criticism of this pastor or his church.
I waited for my wife to get back from her walk, so I could talk to her about this and yes, she would be the first to say, “so you’re better than they are?” I think I clarified my thinking and she understood where I was coming from.
For me, it comes down to complexity; the depth of study, the depth of the message. Going to a church; why am I going? I am going for the sermon. The sermon is 100% of the reason I would attend your church.
That sermon I am seeking will be biblically-based. It will be well-rounded. In other words, you will give me the bad as well as the good. You will not be afraid to tell me I am going to Hell. Yes. I am not going for the show; for the liturgy. I am not going for the music. I am not going so I can view everything on a big screen.
While it might be about the level of education, this is not about being smarter than anyone else. Every time I study the gospel or listen to a preacher, I learn something new. Look at it this way; the professor at your college is not likely to speak to you the way your third-grade teacher did.
My few moments of online experience with this church was no different. Giving myself another shot at considering a visit to this church, the next day I returned to their website to watch more of the pastor’s sermon.
I’m not going to recite him here, but in one of his sermons, he specifically spoke about praying; and not just prayer-in-general. He addressed an issue that I have personally been praying about for quite some time.
Many thanks to this pastor for enlightening me. I felt personally touched as I believe God used this moment to tell me something; and it was something I needed to hear.
So, I climbed back onto the fence. I am sitting on the fence again; considering whether to make a visit to this church. I am not waiting for a special invitation. I am not waiting for a car to pick me up and drop me off at the front door. Wait, that might not be such a bad thing; I hear there may be some walking involved after finding a parking space. (Disregard author’s dry humor.)
Why must I get through so much research just to consider a first-time visit to a church? Well, the variety of teaching out in the world today is very different from that which I grew up in. Many churches today refuse to teach the “not-so-nice-n-fluffy” portions of the bible.
There are many churches that offer the “prosperity Gospel.” Then there are the churches that spend 90% of their service on the “show;” the processions and formalities.
I want to visit a church that is going to tell me the truth, whether I like it or not. I want to visit a church that will acknowledge where I am at on the biblical education scale and teach me further.
I may visit this church after returning from my vacation in a couple weeks. If I, make an actual visit to this church I will let you all know. I will write a “follow-up” post.