I don’t mind admitting that I was one of the suckers who left the church after I cracked The DaVinci Code. A decade has passed since then, along with a lot of livin’ and learnin’. Since I was young, my mantra has been, “Life is funny, I’m serious.” The older I get, the more I find it to be true.
While it was reading that caused my faith to falter, it has also been reading that has guided me back to faith. I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to say that in the couple of times that I have been back in a church, I have felt the prodigal son’s father’s arms around me. I am unable to dive back in devoid of all skepticism, but I’ve seen enough over the years to recognize the simple truth that good people are good people. And good people are rare.
I can’t help but feel like something is amiss though. In the time I was away, a shift has taken place.
As I write this, I feel like an old timer longing for a past that probably never existed. We’re all more than familiar with the rather cliche critique of modern churches, “they are too feel good.” Maybe, maybe not. Either way, I’m not interested in joining that chorus. Instead, what I am interested in musing about is the amount of comedy that has been interjected into sermons.
Comedy in sermons interests me because of the subject matter. For all communication, save sermons, I believe the speaker’s first step is to recognize his or her audience. Sermons dealing with ‘the Truth’ are different. By definition, if one person is going to communicate that they really know the nature of human existence, the audience has the responsibility to adapt to the speaker. The Truth is fixed, it doesn’t bend or change. It is universal. On top of that, it simply becomes too difficult to discern why someone is listening and/or why the speaker is popular if the sermon is built around the audience.
Did Jesus of Nazareth ever purposefully try to keep his listener’s attention? What do you think? Can you picture Him ever caring about whether the audience felt entertained? Would Jesus have ever removed some Truth from his message in order for it to meet expectations, or to gain a follower?
I know life was fundamentally different back then. I get it. But they killed Him via public execution. Whoever “they” actually were is irrelevant to this point. An organized ‘they’ killed Him.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this and I’ve concluded that it would be very difficult to give a sermon today that would incite some group of people to that amount of passion; enough to call for a capital punishment proceeding.
(This is where my respect for Him grows tremendously.)
Let’s say I did develop this sermon. Could I give it? Perhaps.
I guess I would have to believe it was the Truth.