Summary: In this second message in the series How to Listen to a Sermon, Dave focuses in on the importance mystery.
Don’t Forget the Mystery
How to Listen to a Sermon, prt. 2
Wildwind Community Church
January 23, 2011
Nice to be back with you this week. Of course two weeks ago we watched a preview for Financial Peace University, and last week I was out of town with my daughter Brittany. We spent the weekend in Rock Island, IL checking out Augustana College. Brit did a few scholarship interviews there, we toured the campus, and just generally had a fantastic weekend together. I know I will always be so grateful to have had that opportunity.
So three Sundays ago I began a new series that I want to continue today. It’s called How to Listen to a Sermon. This series is based on the fact that although people have heard hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of sermons in their lives, almost no one has ever heard a sermon about how to listen to a sermon. And this is in spite of the fact that you will not find any Jr. high or high school or college or graduate course that does not begin by going over the syllabus – a document that covers not the class content but how the content will be learned. The syllabus tells students how they will be learning what they will be learning. Lectures, quizzes, tests, online activities, real world experiments, self-study – whatever.
Yet you can leave church every Sunday confident that you will not actually be expected to have learned anything. There will be no test and no quiz. No one will ask to look over your notes. Expectations will be, what? NOTHING. There are no expectations of any kind. You not only show up and listen, free of any expectation that you should be learning anything, but then you get to go out to lunch afterwards and have a discussion about whether or not the teacher even knows anything. :-) But let’s be fair and balanced. After all, why should you assume the teacher really does know anything? If you take a science class, it’s safe to assume the teacher has studied science. If you take an astronomy or math class, it’s safe to assume the teachers have studied astronomy or math. But if you show up every week to listen to somebody preach, what exactly is safe to assume?
That the “teacher” has a degree in theology? Hmmm...I don’t have a degree in theology. That the teacher has studied theology? Hmmm...what kinds of places count as serious study? Does an online theological school count? Does it need to be in one’s own religion? How about one’s own denomination? What if the teacher is from one’s own religion and denomination, but has drastically different political beliefs than you do? Are they still a credible source of spiritual guidance and knowledge and information? What counts as credible? Oh yeah, that’s what we were talking about. If they are in your religion, and your denomination, and if they share reasonably similar political ideas, does this mean you can count on them to be right 100% of the time? How about about 80%? How about 50%? And how do you know which 50%?