Tuesday, August 2, 2005
Sermon illustration needing sermon.
I had lunch today with some mainline clergy friends including the homiletics professor of a local American Baptist seminary. During the conversation someone mentioned Portland, Oregon. I mentioned that I had lived there when I was an undergraduate at Reed College. The homiletics prof then mentioned that he had heard a story about my alma mater used as a sermon illustration:
Every Spring a liberal arts college known for its godlessness threw a wild campus-wide party, known to all for its hedonism and excess. This party was a weekend of debauchery, indecency, chemical experimentation, and free love. A group of local missionaries had heard about the party, and one day during a conversation they joked about evangelizing to the students at the party. The suggestion was offered in jest, but soon one of the missionaries was taking the joke seriously.
When the party weekend came, these missionaries dressed up as priests and set up a modest booth draped in black cloth on the campus. The sign out front read, "Confessional Booth." Soon enough, along came a student who had already tried many things for the first time over the weekend. Inhibitions lowered, the student saw the booth and thought, "Why not?" The student entered and sat down and said, "I suppose I should tell you what I've been doing this weekend."
"No," the missionary replied, "We are here to confess to you. The Christian Church has been guilty of many sins. We started the Crusades and many wars in the name of God. We burned witches and heretics at the stake. We conquered lands and forced our religion and values on others. We endorsed discrimination. We were the enemy of science. We taught people to be fearful of God and hateful towards one another."
The lunch conversation soon went off in another direction. I left without having the chance to ask the homiletics professor what the point of the sermon had been in which this illustration was used. So here's my question: What was the sermon that used this illustration about?
ps. It is frustrating to have gone to a school whose reputation is one of "out-of-control hedonism" when it is really an excellent, demanding academic institution with amazing teachers and classes.
Copyright © 2005 by Thom Belote | Posted 2 August 2005 at 4:12 PM
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