I’m currently reading through some books in preparation for Sunday’s sermon. At the moment, I’m working through The Next Evangelicalism by Soong-Chan Rah. In it I came across these three accounts of racism in the context of American evangelicalism. That so many evangelicals consider racism a personal rather than a systemic, structural problem shows a massive failure in understanding and contextualization.
“The following story from an Asian American blogger reveals the harmful aspects of the creation of ‘the other’:
I am sitting in a service at my home church in Missouri. During an announcement for a new outreach to international students, a non-Aisan woman dressed in a kimono (traditional Japanese dress) stepped up to the mike. She was an elder’s wife. She feigned an accent, in which she spoke in halting English. The congregation roared with laughter. There were two Asians in the church that day. One was me. The other was my unchurched friend. He turned to me and said, “This is bullish__.” He got up, turned around (we were sitting in the front row) and walked past the crowd of 800 laughing and guffawing faces.
At the moment, I’m quite busy working on my New Year’s talk, but I wanted to share with you a sermon I found by the Presbyterian minister the Reverend Terry Hamilton-Poor. I came across this gem while doing comprehensive research on the issue of abortion. In 1991, Stanley Hauerwas (Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke Divinity School & Professor of Law at Duke University) gave a talk on abortion titled “Abortion, Theologically Understood” at the annual conference of The United Methodist Church. To start his talk, he read this sermon by Pastor Hamilton-Poor. It’s short, and not comprehensive, but it gives what I believe to be an excellent example of how Christians and the church can (and should) respond to the issue using the gospel. It also includes some powerful and real responses to abortion toward the end. Continue reading
This post will probably be of particular interest to pastors; however, over the years, I have found that some congregants are also quite curious as to how pastors go about preparing their sermons. I am writing this entry in hopes to give folks a somewhat voyeuristic peek into the sermon writing process. Of course, my method is only one of many, but I think this entry should help folks get a rough idea as to what sermon prep can be like. I also hope to dispel the common misconceptions that writing a sermon is easy and that pastors are able to “just get up and preach” (behind which the assumption is that little preparation is necessary.)* By the way, I think the question I’ve been asked the most by far as a pastor is, “What do you pastors do during the week?” I remember someone saying to me, “You guys have it easy. Just chilling all week and hanging out with people and reading. That’s gotta be the life.” Don’t I wish. My friend addresses this question and myth on his blog. I’ll probably write about it one day as well. ;p Continue reading