Saturday 5 September 2015

Church attendance manual (4): The eight types of sermons

It's been a while since I've added an entry to the Church Attendance Manual. For those planning to attend church on Sunday, here is an ecumenical typology of sermons:

Evangelical: God thinks you’re despicable. But Jesus loves you!

Liberal Protestant: God thinks you’re wonderful. Here’s a crayon drawing I did earlier to show you.

Progressive: I have not the faintest idea of what God, if there is a God, thinks about you. And if any of you disagrees with me, God thinks you’re an arrogant fundamentalist, and I agree.

Roman Catholic: I know many different things that God thinks on various matters. Here are nine of them, in no particular order.

Orthodox: We Orthodox are absolutely certain about what God thinks. But here’s a story instead of something that happened to me the other day.

Pentecostal: God doesn’t think, God feels. And how does God feel about you? Great!

Presbyterian: I – that is to say, myself, the ego, the first-person speaker whom Paul so poignantly yet so ambiguously names in Romans 7 – know – meaning that I perceive it, not only by way of intellectual comprehension but as something that I grasp and apprehend with my whole being, in the way that "Adam knew his wife Eve" (cf. Gen. 4:1) – what God thinks – that is to say, not just the content of the divine mind but the entire mode by which God apprehends created things, what one commentator has aptly called God's "sapiential omniscience". 

Itinerant evangelist: God is thinking about that ten dollar bill that you've got hidden in the bottom of your pocket.


AlanK said...

Sigh. Did you have to go after some of the most egregious practices of Reform theology with Presbyterian? What is a joke to you (and most of your readers) is a painful reality for those of us Presbyterians who see the bloom of Reform theology always getting choked by the weeds of "young and restless" (let the reader understand). Too close to home to be funny anymore.

Unknown said...

Yeah, Ben, and evangelicals should be outraged. God doesn't think we're "despicable". He loves us so much that he kills Jesus for us.

Anonymous said...

Never heard an Orthodox sermon like you mention. Every Eastern Orthodox priest I've known, preaches on the Gospel and Epistle of the day and how it applies to our salvation. A big shame on you.
Rdr. James Morgan
Olympia WA

Daniel Imburgia said...

‘When someone is honestly 55% right, that’s very good and there’s no use wrangling. And if someone is 60% right, it’s wonderful, it’s great luck, and let him thank God. But what’s to be said about 75% right? Wise people say this is suspicious. Well, and what about 100% right? Whoever say he’s 100% right is a fanatic, a thug, and the worst kind of rascal.’ (An old Jew of Galicia, from: The Captive Mind, Czeslaw Milosz).

I thought Ben's manual was humorous satire or am I missing something? (granted the Calvinists got most of the critical attention, but heck they are the elect so you'd think they would just shake this off). Anyway I wonder what kind of manual Ben might write for someone who could "rightly pass" (h/t JD) as a Anarchist/Liberal-traditionalist cradle-Catholic, who writes Orthodox Icons and has had significant Pentecostal/evangelical history leavened with a man-crush on Rowan Williams--until Pope Francis swept me off my feet! Obliged, blessings and I look fwd to more of these.

Anonymous said...

The "Orthodox" one I literally saw on youtube:

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