Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I wonder how many good sermons on the mission in Iraq have been preached from the pulpit of American churches since 2003. I wonder how many sermons, good, bad or in between, have been preached on Iraq, terrorism, the Middle East, or the Iraq study group proposal. I wonder how many Pastors have searched the Scriptures in order to present an appropriate Christian response to terrorism in our time to their members. I wonder how many prayers have been offered during Sunday services for our President, our other government leaders, our soldiers, and the people in the Middle East suffering from the clash between Islam and the West.

I sat in Church Sunday morning while a Senior Pastor passed around bubble gum like communion while preaching a sermon about how we need to rediscover the awe of childhood during the Christmas season. Perhaps there has been periods during the last 2000 years when this sermon would have been appropriate, but this sermon was wholly inappropriate during a period in history when so many Americans refuse to grow up while the threat from Islamic terrorism continues to increase.

I wonder how many Pastors will please God when he asks them about their Pastoral emphasis during this period of Islamic terrorism.


Hammertime said...

For heaven's sake, find a church! No, I mean a real church, in which people are encouraged in denying themselves, taking up their cross and following Christ.
I'm starting my church membership series today, and this might seem odd, but that sermon would lead me to an appointment with the pastor and a possible departure. "Rediscover the awe of childhood"? How about rediscover the awe of the Almighty, whom we must fear, obey and revere and worship!

Bubble gum. How appropriate for such a sermon.

Dave Smith said...

Hey, David:

I don't know, I can see the potential value of rediscovering the awe of childhood - maybe even particularly during times such as these - but it would depend on how it was handled. To be fair to the pastor and to you, I wasn't there, so I can't appropriately comment.

Yes, I do indeed believe, however, that we should be ever more involved in worship of the true God, realizing our neediness and just how awesome He truly is. Perspective - especially this perspective! - is therapeutic!

David M. Smith said...

Hi Dave,

The presentation was a high gloss production from the Pastor of a Mega-Church. Most of the adults in attendance, about 500, laughed, and giggled, all the way through, and then left with a big smile on their face. It was just what the unserious wanted to hear and none of them were disappointed, but I wanted to cry.

I wanted to cry for the soldiers who have sacrificed their life so we can chew bubble gum in Church, I wanted to cry for all of the innocent victims of terrorism, now and in the future, because Americans, especially Californians, are not adult enough to understand what we are up against, and I wanted to cry for this Pastor and his Church.

Another time in another place this sermon might have been appropriate, but not at this time in Orange County California where most adults are children.

We live in a broken world that you understand and have witnessed more than the rest of us. I suspect this Church doesn’t really need or want an awesome God. Does your Church pray for our troops regularly and does your pastor preach on Iraq?

Thanks for your comment. Sorry about the Army/Navy game. : - )

PS If you set up a blogger profile, your comments will link to your profile which you can link to your blog.

David M. Smith said...

Hi Hammer,

Believe me, I’m looking for a serious Church. Could you pray for my family to find a Church with a Christian community that will work for all of us? Where have you been?

BTW, sorry about the Army/Navy game. : - )

I was hoping for a golden dome and pig sooie bowl game, but we will have to wait until the national championship next year.

Dave Smith said...

Yeah, David, I'll give that technique a try and see if it'll work. But you know I'm technologically challenged! I need a ten year old to teach me all of this computer stuff!

Dave Smith said...

I certainly can understand some of the frustration you're having. If this is the steady diet you all are getting, well, that's just flat out unacceptable.

Without throwing the baby out with the bath water, the "seeker-sensitive" church thing ought to be taken out and killed outright. This sounds like some the nonsense we experienced at our former church, remember?

My reading of Scripture tells me that the gathering of the body involves fellowhip and worship. The only audience we really should be concerned with is God. If unbelievers attend and come to saving faith, God be praised! But I see that time as primarily God-focused and the teaching as equipping so that we in the congregation who are "deployed" in the world can share our faith with friends, family, co-workers, neighbors.

I don't know, but I get the distinct impression your church is still in that outdated, erroneous mode.

Hammertime said...

I had hope for this year's Army/Navy. After all, I was in the stands when an 0-10 Navy thwomped a 5-5ish Army team 24-3. No such luck - but I enjoyed 5 years in a row of wins, so why shouldn't the squids?

I'd like an Irish/Hog matchup, and I'm sure that the Blessed Mother would not allow her reputation to be tarnished by swine. Tigers, on the other hand, I'm not so sure...

I was crushed beneath the school/work/family press for a couple of weeks, then when I moved into my new job, found it was a nightmare. The Lord has blessed me in my work, though, and I am replacing chaos with systems as we speak.

I will pray for your family to find a church. I owe you an email, too.

David M. Smith said...

Hi Dave,

I had high hopes for the seeker sensitive model. I thought the greatest barrier to belief in God was the 1950 Church culture. I thought if we could get people in Church, it would be easy to present the case for Christ.

I sure was wrong. Instead of believers influencing non-believers, those without deep convictions have completely changed the Church.

We have more work to do now than before the seeker sensitive model. We have more to do than we can do. We need God more than ever.

Buz said...

Many years ago, we had a special sermon on Suffering Church Sunday (some time in May). We actually had two armed guards come in during the beginning of the service and drag the pastor out. We had "confiscated" all the bibles at the door. The only scripture we had was what we had memorized. Needless to say, it was a very different and sobering service.

The most poignient moment was when a handicapped woman who could hardly speak quoted an entire (loooong) Psalm from memory. We were all silent for several minutes after that.

Maybe you should arrange to have your pastor dragged from the morning service by armed guards some Sunday and see how many people run, how many fight and how many fall to their knees.