So, per one of my past blogs I began a new series this past Sunday on some fairly controversial topics starting off with a light one, "Sexuality." Yeah, maybe trying to cover homosexuality, divorce, adultery and pre-marital sex might have been a little ambitions, but hey, the whole intent was to create an atmosphere or conversations and discourse. Well that it did . . .
I had never felt so anxious about a sermon before. With a day of reflection behind me, I think my anxiety came because of a myriad of reasons:
- What the HECK was I trying to do by covering homosexuality, divorce, adultery, pre-marital sex all in one sermon. A little packed to say the least. Note to self: only cover three HUGE issues per sermon, four just crosses the line 😉
- I REALLY struggled with how do I help folks to discern with how they think/feel God is guiding them if I don’t let folks know here I am standing at this particular time and place?
- I just knew that the discomfort about addressing Sexuality in the context of church was leaving me open to making some "not funny" remark to alleviate the tension.
Well, whatever the reason for the anxiety, it was clear that I was extremely anxious during most of the message time. I tell you, a pretty weird feeling for one who feels pretty comfy in the proverbial "pulpit" of a worship experience. In the end though I felt pretty darn good about the experience even though it was one of my worst delivered and structured message EVER.
The reason it was HORRIBLE :: Of course, in my anxiety I left out some parts of the sermon that would have tied much of it together, I was a little flustered by a couple of not-so-friendly eyes burrowing angry holes into my head after I said that I did NOT think Homosexuality was a sin (uh-oh that’s in blog-print now) so I know that I didn’t make my point very well, theologically or otherwise. I stumbled around more than usual (verbally, not physically) and I did have more than one urge to crack some joke to try and get me out of the many corners that I found myself in. It was also rough, because I know I made a choice to say how I felt about all of these issues and that some folks were not going to be very happy; AND that my relationship with folks may not be strong enough to hold onto them as part of this particular community of faith.
Why it was AWESOME :: Well maybe "awesome" is too strong of a word, but I am a firm believer that the preacher should also experience transformation with every sermon just as he/she should help others to experience God in new ways. Well, despite my lack of articulation, I saw many a head nod and relieved exhaling when I shared my views on homosexuality, intimacy and being faithful to God in the midst of all sexual decisions. I know in some ways, people were relieved to hear where I stood and were given permission to share the same view whereas we were not able to as openly before.
And in the end, it is my hope that this particular Sunday series will inspire conversations around all the issues I will preach on over the next few weeks. It has begun as a few folks turned is some cards with questions for me to address and there was plenty of buzz after the worship itself. I’ll post the questions in a future blog.
So, one day removed, I am feeling pretty good about it. I know it would have never cut mustard in a Homeltics Class, but in this context I think I will survive and in the end, the church will become stronger. In any case, after this first one, Wealth, Poverty and Classism are going to a breeze 😉