Sunday, 18 April 2010

On laughing at your preacher

When it comes to sermons, nothing is more entertaining than a badly used metaphor. Here are two recent examples that I've come across:

A friend of mine recently attended a Christian wedding. The bride's father (a fiery preacher) gave a warm speech on the centrality of Christ in Christian marriage. With immense feeling, he proclaimed: "Every good Christian marriage is a threesome."

Even better: a few months ago my wife went along with some friends to a big charismatic church. The preacher was talking about a certain evangelist – he had been cured of his former homosexuality, and he now had a vibrant ministry among other gay men. With penetrating spiritual intensity, the preacher exclaimed: "Who knows how many seeds he has sown into the gay community?"

The most extraordinary thing about these incidents: in both cases, not a single person actually dared to laugh.

31 Comments:

Ari said...

I am laughing on their behalf right now.

Anonymous said...

I, also.

There's also the preacher who, in attempting to condemn bureaucracy in the church and 'organisation', tries to contrast it with the church as an 'organism' but fumbles and makes it an orgasm. If only it were that easy.

Jane said...

The first time I celebrated communion in the 1980s in Britain I stood behind the table and said "come unto me all ye who are labour and heavy laden"
I then tried to say it correctly and of course repeated the error
People were smiling and I was thanked at the end for my Marxian slip! They were good enough not to laugh out loud, they knew I was still lerning the job!
At the time as well as student minister I was the local election organiser for the labour party - my politics were no secret

Anyway thansk for these - had a good laugh!

Anonymous said...

It is very common for self-controlled and respectful people not laugh because words are accidently used which are open to a base sexual interpretation.

Given how common it is today to laugh at childish sexual innuendo, I suppose I must laugh at you for suggesting it would take daring.

Very funny.

kim fabricius said...

How 'bout "... all ye who are in labour and heavy laden" - in a maternity ward.

Btw, a Daffy Duck tee shirt would have been quite another matter, for of course "Anas est Dominus". (I was real careful with the spelling there.)

Qohelet said...

I would smirk and perhaps wink at the fellow next to me, but I wouldn't laugh. It would be a bit too disruptive.

Arni Zachariassen said...

This one is quite a classic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Vs5nZYq1hY :)

Anonymous said...

Driscoll is gay???

Justin Ireland said...

Ben, I thought you should have left out the word "spiritual" from your post, so then you also would have a badly used metaphor:

"With penetrating ... intensity, the preacher exclaimed: "Who knows how many seeds he has sown into the gay community?"

;)

roger flyer said...

@ Anonymous. Ben said he was cured, but the Mickey Mouse t-shirt is code.

Ben Myers said...

Justin, my wife was also appalled by the "penetrating" metaphor. She said gravely: "You see, this is what happens when you blog after half a bottle of wine."

Anna said...

Arni, I knew you were linking to the "pinch his tits" sermon before I looked , that one still makes me laugh, especially cause he realized it.. his face is priceless

Ben, thanks for sharing... you did do the "penetrating spiritual intensity" on purpose right?

Student said...

Stimulating!

For me the funniest preacher is Mr. Bean as priest performing his first marriage ceremony in "Four Weddings and a Funeral."

Always look in the bright side of life.

The Ghost said...

Yeah...I can't control myself if I were to see that happen. I mean hearing a screw up like that in a sermon or something of that nature may come only once in a lifetime, twice if lucky. People just need to lay back and see the humor in it sometimes.

Now the guy in Arni's link, um...he might want to see a shrink sometime in the future.

Fat said...

Many years ago I was reading the gospel at a small country church and I cannot remember now what the actual reading was but I stammered over a word and so what came out was the 'c' word instead. I kept going but later mucked up the Lords Prayer when I was trying to be extra careful.

On the drive home my wife said "Don - they'd forgive anything out there except one thing - you muffed the Lord's Prayer".

Anonymous said...

My wife, a preacher, once referred in an early sermon to "'The Passion of the Christ' by Mel Brooks."

Wilson said...

I once heard a magnificent sermon where the priest said, "You know what we all need? Agenda change!"

It took a few moments before he realised that the congregation had heard, "A gender change!", which explained the funny looks he was getting...

Chris Donato said...

Weddings are often such mixed affairs, I'm really surprised no one laughed there.

Ben Myers said...

Chris, to be more precise: the bride's family were all Christians, and none of them laughed; the groom's family were drinking heartily, and they did laugh. It's only the Christian folk who seem to have trouble responding to hilarity!

Chris Donato said...

tsk, tsk. What has all this piety got us?

micah said...

My pastor once messed up a word (and if I remember right the word that came out was already close to something sexual) and then added "Well, I sure pulled a real boner there." I still can't believe it.

nate kerr said...
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nate kerr said...
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nate kerr said...

Once during the closing prayer of a service of a church I was attending, the pastor was improvising on his quasi-standard prayer of benediction and said the following: "Help us to help those who cannot help themselves, so that they can help us to help them, to help...." Realizing the circularity into which he had gotten himself entangled, he abruptly let off with the final "help" and began the next sentence: "And be with our president, and all the members of his cabinet, and with congress, and with our state and local leaders..."

Well, I did laugh, as did my friend standing next to me, and it erupted into one of those shared moments of convulsive laughter that can be hard objectively to discern just what is going on, from the outside, what with heads bowed and eyes closed and all. So a dear lady across the aisle from my friend (one of those "dear old ladies" that all the churchfolk know), mistaking his convulsing as that of crying (perhaps lament) rather than hilarity, quickly crossed the aisle to embrace him and to offer him a kleenex. That gesture, of course, only exacerbated my laughter, which the nice lady herself mistook. She gave me that stern look only someone who has been a mother can give a son: "How dare you laugh at this grown man crying!," the look said.

Nathan said...

Those are bad - but not quote so bad as this clanger from Dick Lucas...

Anonymous said...

Maybe Dick Lucas should check his medication - is he taking the right dosage?

Anonymous said...

"Maybe Dick Lucas should check his medication" ... or meditation. "out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks"??

poor guy, hope he recovers from the embarrassment. the blogs are not helping.

Anonymous said...

sorry about the comment - I'm sure he will recover from the embarrassment. Public speaking can have its pitfalls!!

Ben Myers said...

I've got another good one: in our college chapel service yesterday, there was a printed order of service. When it came to the prayer of confession, the congregation was summoned to confess our sins "in pertinence and faith". I'm guessing that Word's auto-correct was to blame for this one.

Fat said...

It isn't that terrible Ben

Dictionary says "Pertinence - Having logical precise relevance to the matter at hand"

Better to name those sins than mumble some generic confession.

Laughing at Childish Sexual Innuendo said...

The formerly gay preachers comment was described as intensly penetrating. HaHa

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