Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Sermon I'm working on

I'm preaching about Gideon this Sunday, and so I decided to post some of the introduction for your perusal. This should be a really fun sermon.

Here's my general layout
Thesis: God knows your flaws and uses you anyway.
1st Movement: God knows that you’re cynical
2nd Movement: God knows that you’re small
3rd Movement: God knows that you’re afraid
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I don’t know the Bible as well as I should. College Bible classes helped to rectify some of that, but I still felt scripturally inadequate when I came to seminary. I can’t give you a verse for every life situation, I usually only have a general idea about where you can find the important Bible stories and before my first semester at Truett, the only Old Testament stories that I really knew where the ones that get made into veggie tales movies. I didn’t love the Old Testament. If I’m going to be honest, I didn’t really love the Bible. It seemed….overly idealistic. And then I took Scriptures 1 with Dr. Ngan in the fall of 2006. We started in Genesis and ended in Kings and I came face to face with stories and characters I’d never even known about. Dr. Ngan was right when she told us that she “loved the Old Testament. It’s full of sex and violence.” If you don’t believe me, I can give you some reading assignments later. That class helped me to fall in love again with the Old Testament and even the Bible. Why? Am I just another product of a youth culture that glories in violent stories and over-sexed relationships? I don’t think so. I fell in love with the book again because I realized how honest it is. These people, these heroes of our Sunday school and Vacation Bible School memories are much more… human than I remember. Adam shirked responsibility, Eve was ambitious to a fault, Abraham was a philanderer, Sarah was vindictive, Joseph was spoiled, Moses was a murderer, Samson was a failure who could only vindicate himself by dying and King David was a usurper, an adulterer and a really bad dad. Rereading these stories, I realized the Bible and its authors (both human and divine) had hidden nothing about its subjects. No one in the Bible, no one in the Old Testament is perfect…and that helps me to trust their stories so much more. Trust in the brutal honesty of God and his words.

7 comments:

anglopressy said...

Does it ever make you wonder who thought these stories would paint an appealing picture of what it's like to be in YHWH's crew?

thereeves said...

Great sermon topic - wish we could be there - will be praying for you! Tell it like it is, Beffy!

D&D Beffy said...

I think that's the point anglopressy...
There's no idealism when describing the human condition. The remarkable thing is that God is still able to and willing to work with such flawed individuals to such great results.

anglopressy said...

I was kind of making a joke Elizabeth (I feel we can call each other by our first names, so it's just anglo). I think it's funny that human nature and theology were better captured through the seemingly inadequate story of a small group of marginalized semitic people, when all of the scholarship that modernity can muster isn't even equipped with the categories necessary to begin this same exploration.

Wow, now that I'm out of breath, I need a nap.

Grace and Peace,
Jared

anglopressy said...

You know, I just realized that it may not be elizabeth who posted that reply. Sorry about that.

D&D Beffy said...

I think it just may be a sign that all the high theological language that we've developed will never be as effective in conveying God's wonder and grace as the simple techniques of prose and poetry.
We too often discount the power of narrative when we're telling others about the mighty works of God.
P.S. This is Elizabeth.

anglopressy said...

I think we discount the power of narrative with regard to nearly everything.

Have you read any Richard Hays? He was one of the guys, back in the seventies, who brought people's attention back to narrative as an exegetical tool for the study of Biblical texts. It was a real slap in the face to much of the old guard. People who followed Luther in thinking that the epistles are where theology is and that the gospels are just filler. Now there are a lot of scholars reading paul, et al in light of the gospels.

Happy anniversary, by the way.


Grace and Peace,
Jared