Friday, May 08, 2009


Yesterday ~

a meeting which left me wondering why it is so important to some people to register such disdain for views which do not comport with their own ~ and realizing that if ~ or, no doubt more accurately ~ to the extent I do the same, it's time to stop ~

a second effort to preach without notes, a task at which I realized I was going to fail as soon as I took one last glance at my sermon and realized that any recollection of same had evaporated (one of the hazards of my current general state of mind is that chunks of it frequently evaporate without warning), and which has made Imodium my best friend for the second time in two weeks ~

an impromptu conversation which should have drawn on the best I have to offer, a realization that dawned on me hours later as I realized that I had been so preoccupied with the first two incidents that I had completely missed the opportunity extended to me to listen to another suffering individual.

I need to re-think a lot of things. Maybe my whole life.


Kathryn J said...

Please don't be so hard on yourself. All of us, whatever our issues, are people getting through the day. Some of us are dealing with more than others but all of us need to be gentle with ourselves.

The memorizing a sermon assignment seems odd to me. I have done public speaking and memorizing often means stilted and boring. You need to have a few notes and to speak from the heart. In our church, we ask for the help of the Spirit.

Carol said...

I second what Kathryn has said, particularly about memorizing your sermon. Each of these trials is an opportunity to turn the lemons into lemonade. You are so caring and conscientious that I'm certain you will gain even more compassion, concern, and perspective from each of these situations.
Word verification=squit. My interpretation is "squash the quit attitude"

ROBERTA said...

thank God for immodium :)

be kind to yourself - tell the numbskulls who came up with the memorization technique of sermon delivery to bugger off - of course that should be delivered in a godly manner :)

be yourself. everyone else is taken. and you have so much to offer those who cross your path - like me.

LawAndGospel said...

In the midst of the realization, please do not forget to realize grace. Your reflections sound very similar to my own- including the sermon memorization struggle, and perhaps more importantly the struggle to be competent. Grace be unto you.

Jodie said...

Why does a sermon have to be a "sermon"?

Why can't it just be a conversation?

Where you get permission to indulge in a long monologue?

(Then all you need is something to say.)

Gannet Girl said...

"Please do not forget to realize grace."

What is that? Did you perhaos mean to extend an invitaton? A hope?

I suppose I sound's a pretty raw day...and my experience is that that's the kind of exhortation that sends people in pain running from church-related environments.

At any rate, sermon memorizing and competence are at the bottom of my list of challenges.

Jody . . . aren't you Presby? Long tradition going back to the beginning of the Reformation on the theology and practice of sermons.

But, interestingly (I think, anyway) in our church on a couple of "low" Sundays we have had congregational conversations exploring the text in lieu of sermons -- and they've been wonderful and very well received.

Jodie said...


yes, I am a presby, the son and grandson of presby ministers and preachers on both sides...

I think the art of preaching should be allowed to evolve according to the oratory style of the day (and it has) and be adapted to the voice of the one who preaches.

I was just imagining if I were a preacher with my memorization skills... If I had to memorize a sermon my brain would lock up when I walked up to the pulpit.

But I have had occasion to speak in public and address large numbers of my peers in my profession.

What works for me is to imagine having a one to one conversation with my toughest critic who is sitting in the back row, and except for the roaming eye to eye contact with everybody else in the room, I am addressing primarily that one person.

And voila, I am preaching.

(Some would say pontificating...) ;-)

(other examples of "preachers" are Oprah, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Barrack Obama,... you get the idea. Obama reads his speeches and Letterman his monologues, but you would never guess).

I am constantly amazed at how the primary gift of CEOs of today is the ability to preach. To hold an audience with a compelling motivational speech that makes the audience want to change, want to do better, believe in themselves, believe in the enterprise, the mission of the enterprise, and give their whole lives over to that mission. They make millions doing just that. I remember once being in the audience of Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford, thinking "this guy could get me to do anything - people will die for him".

So what are we mere mortals to do? Most of today's church preachers are outclassed and the audiences (congregations) are overexposed to the best. The genre is under extreme evolutionary pressure to change or become extinct, IMHO.

I just think maybe the place to go is back to the dinner conversation, or the fireside story telling

(Sorry for rambling)

Daisy said...


We hobble along maimed from the battle. Hopefully, on occasion, we can help prop each other up when we are able. Sometimes, we miss those occasions. And sometimes, we just aren't able. It happens.


Beach Walkin said...

I can't imagine how you felt/feel. It is difficult enough to attempt to memorize a sermon... but add to that everything else going on in your life... it's a miracle that the stomach medicine was enough.

I'm a manuscript writer... but occasionally I leave the pulpit... and preach near the font... or even out in the congregation. The two types of sermons are EXTREMELY different. Manuscript sermons draw word pictures... use repeating words/phrases... and they are tightly written (each word has meaning). Out of the pulpit sermons... they are from the heart (they are a part of my core belief system)... tend to be more like a teaching moment... and actually can evolve into a real conversation (because I encourage people to answer questions out loud).

Memorization scares the crap out of me... because I don't do that very well. Naw... I just can't do it. I lose my train of thought... because I'm trying to think of what I'm going to say next... while I'm saying something else... and that get UGLY... FAST!

You are in my prayers... always.