It has been an unusual week for me … both at church and at home. Not a bad week, just unusual. But there has been little time to consider posting. But I’ve had a few links I’ve been considering but a bit hesitant to post since they are based on satire – and there are some people that truly don’t get it – which means there may be a few offended folks in my vast readership. But I have to do something to distract from the Seahawks choking. Maybe the best thing about satire is that it can’t help but make you think. The unfortunate thing is that some think these sites are “true.”
Lark News has been around for quite a while. The lead article for November is an interesting concept … and an apt illustration of satire. Just about everyone would agree that it is God that brings results, but amazingly there are churches that are pretty close to considering “pay-for-performance” – really.
Glen Schaumloeffel sent me the link to TBNN (Team Tominthebox News Network). Before you dismiss this as being a bit “too over-the-top” you might want to take a trip to your local christian retail outlet; or just listen to couple of emergent postmodernists chat for a while. I liked the post about Krakozhia. I hope no one tries this church growth plan! Remember, we’re talking satire here, though they do some serious posts as well.
Finally, there’s The Church You Know a seriously satirical video site with a couple of kickers. I may not appreciate everything here, but it sure makes you think, even when they go a bit beyond where we may feel comfortable (e.g., this post?). And some are pretty pointed, like this one on pastors.
Douglas Wilson has a lot to say about godly satire. Doug does a lot with the genre, but this post is seriously helpful.
With all the emerging talk, buzz words, and new church strategies out there, I am uncertainly certain that you will like Pyromaniacs emerging line of motivational posters. Or maybe you won’t. I bet we see some fundamental posters from Emergent sometime soon.
Tim Challies has an interesting and frustrating post today about plagiarism in the pulpit. I wrote about this back in April, concerned with the impact Rick Warren’s sermon selling might have on the character of pastors and churches. Challies links to the latest Wall Street Journal article by Susan Sataline about this very topic and brings his typical wisdom to the conversation. I appreciated the paragraph about why pastors might choose to preach other men’s sermons:
Of course we would be remiss to read about this issue and to neglect asking why pastors feel it necessary to preach other peoples’ sermons. I’m sure that in some cases pastors are simply lazy and are looking for a way to avoid what can be a long, tedious task. But in many cases I suspect pastors preach these sermons because they feel their congregations will demand a certain quality and a certain level of entertainment that they cannot provide. The spirit of pragmatism lives in the church today and I know of many pastors who have succumbed to it. They feel that their congregations will be better served by a sermon that is witty and contemporary than by a pastor who absorbs himself in a week-long study of the Bible. Some churches expect far too much of their pastors, demanding that they be leaders and entertainers more than preachers. Some pastors are not allowed sufficient time to adequately prepare their sermons. In many cases, the pressure for plagiarism may well originate in the pews and not in the pulpit.
I think it is just one more evidence of a weakening commitment to the Word of God and its power to change lives when truth is clearly preached by one who has be thoroughly changed by his interaction with that truth. What do you think? Or does it even matter?
I also appreciate Challies’ words of caution about speaking to the secular press about issues inside the church. Read down to the bottom of his article.
Today’s Tim Challies post is spot on . Make sure you read the last few paragraphs. He makes a valid point. Sometimes Christians deserve to be the butt of the jokes.
Then there is this post that just makes me angry and sad at the same time.
I think not. I really want this site to be satire. It’s not. They’ll take your money and presumably send you your product. Maybe that’s the joke.
Maybe its just my mood right now, but I’m thinking this is not a good thing.
… and often helps us see the silliness we get ourselves caught up in as American Christians. Sacred Sandwich gives a new advertisement for an updated classic. They have some new tools for the emerging church, and even stuff for all the Spurgeon fans out there.
I’m sure that someone, somewhere is very offended by these guys. I grew up on the Old Wittenberg Door magazine so I know that sometimes the truth can be stranger and more offensive. Check out this link from the new Door.
CNN.com – Youth minister smites dodgeball opponent – Mar 31, 2006. I'm pretty sure that there must be something else going on in this guy's life for him to snap. Youth ministry can be pretty tough – you have to be ready for the ball that comes from nowhere to surprise you. More importantly, we need to remember that it is when surprised that our true inner character seems to be on display. See Matthew 12:33-37.
Preach Someone Else? Ripping off another Pastor's message is nothing new. A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, I was travelling with John MacArthur in the midwest listening to a local pastor on Christian radio. After a few minutes John caught that it was his sermon being "re-preached." I appreciated John's humility … he was pleased that the Word was getting out. I also appreciated his reminder that there is great power in first hand study of the Scripture – power that is lost when merely repeating the words and work of another.
While he is not the only one, Rick Warren has a resource for Pastors in writing their Sermons: "When I was planting Saddleback Church, other pastors’ sermons fed my soul – and eased my preparation! I hope the sermons here will do the same for you. Whether you use the outlines and transcripts for sermon ideas or listen to the preaching to fine-tune your delivery, I’ll be thrilled if your ministry becomes more effective. And if you have a sermon idea that might be helpful to me, feel free to share it! As pastors, we’re all on the same team. Let’s help each other out – and when we get to Heaven, we can rejoice together over the people who were saved as a result! "
I can't speak to the motives of Pastor Warren. I'm sure that they are pure. But I do find myself concerned with what he is encouraging. Skipping some of the hard work of sermon prep. Preaching is hard … good messages take time … and the week-in week-out routine has to be tough (I preach at Crossroads only a few times a year and know how much that takes!). This may be as large a pastoral character issue as kicking a kid in the groin … then again, maybe I'm in trouble.