Sunday, March 14, 2010

Biblical Preaching: Timing is Everything

In a move entirely in keeping with their schismatic forbears who left Canterbury in 1534, the Vatican is now demanding homilies be kept to a maximum of eight minutes. That’s right, My Beloved Sinners, eight minutes!!!

As every Bible-believer knows, any sermon not at the very least of half an hour’s duration simply isn’t Christian. If congregants’ eyes haven’t glazed over, and spot checks don’t reveal at least half of those present have accurately counted every single brick in the wall behind the pulpit, then the preacher hasn’t been doing his duty. My personal minimum is 45 minutes, even if this does necessitate reading the rest of the service at a pace normally associated with race-callers and auctioneers in order to fit in all the day’s scheduled services.

That’s because long-winded sermons are crucial when it comes to intimidating one’s parishioners. Nothing - not even the most pernickety devotion to liturgical precision – can make them feel as intellectually and spiritually inadequate as the type of utterly enervating boredom which only a skilled Conservative Preacher can induce. Strength-sapping, soul-crushing: words can’t do justice to what can be accomplished by a true master of the pulpit.

This is why it’s so important to only ever preach exegetically - taking a small portion of Scripture (preferably from one of the Pauline epistles, but lesser books like the Gospels will do if one feels like a challenge) and laboriously dissecting it in such a way as to remove all contextual traces of God’s outrageous love for humanity. Then, when those few lines have been scrupulously detached from everything which inspired our forebears to consider them part of a life-giving whole, one should – equally tediously – place them in the broader picture of Conditional Forgiveness and the general Conservative obsession with other people’s sexuality.

Certainly neither Jesus nor Saints Peter & Paul preached in this way, but since when have these three been considered role models for Biblical Christianity? Remember: the goal of a sermon is to browbeat, to intimidate, and to reinforce the notion that the Preacher knows best. It’s not easy, and it certainly takes more than just eight minutes to accomplish, but if an exegetical preaching strategy is systematically applied one’s congregation will soon be incapable of recalling another secular homily concerning nakedness and an emperor’s new clothes. After which one can simply repeat the same sermon week after week. Trust me, it’s no accident that most fundamentalist Anglican churches discard the lectionary when preparing their preaching schedules.

I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.

29 comments :

Grandmère Mimi said...

Fr Christian, what excellent commentary on the 8 minute sermon. Your brilliance continues to amaze me. However, I confess that I was a tad, just a tad, disappointed that you did not touch upon the Irish priest's concept of the speed mass. My goodness! In 15 minutes, the ushers would hardly have time to pass the collection plate and glare at those who put nothing or shortchanged the amount of their contribution.

Fr Hugh Jass said...

There is a preacher called Mr Matt Kennedy who posts his long video sermons on his consevative website. I have listened intently to find a meaning behind his words but have never discovered one. Sadly, my computer hasn't sufficient 'memory' to enable me to reach the end of his anti-homosexualist homilies. I am thinking of changing my allegiance to the teachings of the Ould Twins to see if they tickle my fancy.

Anonymous said...

Dr Troll,
Are you really the right Rev Phillip Jensen? The preacher who uses his sermons to psychologically break us, in order to drive Satan out? Psychologically break us and protect us from all manner of evil (ie people and human emotions) so we can choose the right way to live. The right way, as prescribed by you in your 'The 2 Ways to Live'.Oh praise to your ability in warding off Satan and delivering us from evil. Phillip you are the one true saviour!

The Rev. Dr. Christian Troll said...

My fair Grandmère: I did indeed notice the Irish Roman's boast, and the shock of such an abomination left me speechless. Call me old-fashioned, but the notion of taking pride in one's ability to reach the Benediction with such undue haste is certainly not something that I could consider wholesome.

Fr. Hugh: There's no need to ever contemplate buying more memory to hear the conclusion of little Matt's sermons. I have it on good authority that since everyone's invariably asleep he simply repeats the opening hour (it only feels like a decade). On the other hand the Ould twins' preaching certainly will tickle something, but whether or not it's your fancy is a matter of personal predilection.

Anon 12:22: Since you appear to be a prisoner of Mordor I'm happy to forgo taking offence at your question: the answer is a resounding "No!" Indeed, since I am an Anglican I can't possibly be a member of La Cosa Nostra Jensen, and I've never depended upon nepotism to cover up my indiscretions. What's more I don't even have a gambling problem.

Lapinbizarre said...

Welcome, Fr Jass.

Anonymous said...

I suspect that the Ould Twins would be very friendly with a man named Hugh Jass.

Leonardo Ricardo said...

I just left a comment at The Grapevine because I´ve several times been enthralled with the exploitive antics of PB Venables, of the Anglican Province of Conealone...truly, this bloke is a cold blooded guy and would step over anyone to get what he thinks he wants (careful, the offeratory piped in music is drugged as well as traces of you know what in the Prayer Books)...no really, he´s amazing, that PB Venables, he doesn´t even attempt to bore you to death he just blurts out whatever it is he thinks you might want to hear...pandering for profit, what a tiresome lot (not as in ¨vacant lot¨ but pretty ¨vacant¨ none-the-less).

Come to think of it, where is Venables? He´s been doing some very low riding recently or did his travel bonus miles run out (along with the cash shipped in from the North)?

Brad Evans said...

"Father"?
Are you serious?
Do the Orthodox think you're
'Fathers' or just laymen in weird clothes, like the catholics do?

The Rev. Dr. Christian Troll said...

Dear little Brad, my son - you can be so foolish when Matron isn't watching. Of course the catholic & orthodox recognize my and Fr. Jass' orders - why else would we be so highly respected by the Forward in Faith boys?

Mona Lott said...

Interesting question, Leonardo. What has become of VenalBalls?

Verification "phyphy". Fie-Fie, of FiFi?

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Clearly, Alpha Phi´s are pronounced Alpha Fi´s (hope that helps).

WV=parib

I think I had it for dinner wraped in a corn tortilla.

Anonymous said...

Aren't Anglican churches in Chile in the Province of the Southern Cone? Perhaps that's what has Venable's attention?

I have been trying to find links to mission outreach programs between US churches that are members of the Southern Cone and Dioceses in Chile, but I haven't had any luck. I'm sure they are involved in some way.

MadPriest said...

8 minutes?!!
But a truly righteous preacher will need at least 8 minutes for the traditional "holy pause" in the middle of his sermon.

Mehitabel the Cat said...

"......my computer hasn't sufficient 'memory'." Time to quit monitoring the FiFUK Walsingham Girlie-Giggle, Fr Jass.

Brad Evans said...

Then why do you have to be re-ordained when you become catholic or orthodox?
And they won't even consider making your women clergy even a deacon; if you and women clergy in your church have the same ordination, why is it different for men clergy who become catholic/orthdox and for women clergy?

MadPriest said...

Who knows, Brad? Some questions have no answers, like "Why are you such a complete dick?"

Brad Evans said...

Better a complete dick with a steady job than an unemployed p*ssy.

MadPriest said...

Oh c'mon, Brad. That was a piss poor response. You can do better than that. Where's the scathing wit you are famous for? I hope you're not going soft on us as well as the women in your life.

Lapinbizarre said...

"Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Agreed to have a battle"

MadPriest said...

Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
As black as a tar-barrel;

Lapinbizarre said...

"Which frightened both the heroes so,
They quite forgot their quarrel."


So you and Brad have made up.

The Rev. Dr. Christian Troll said...

Brad, Brad, Brad, my little son - if by "catholic and orthodox" you mean "Roman and foreign" you'll just have say it.

Also my son, just because you enjoy your job putting the lids on pens at the Institute for Incurable Pratts doesn't give you the right to speak ill of others' call to do something more with their lives. Remember how upset you were when the other inmates made fun of your basket-weaving? Think about how you felt then, my boy, before trying to be nasty to others.

Remember, my son: if you don't behave Matron won't give you any tapioca for dinner.

Mehitabel the Cat said...

You will have read, Fr Troll, that the "demonic" Diocese of Central New York has sold the building of the former Church of the Good Shepherd, Binghampton to an "Islamic Awareness Center". They have already, Matt Kennedy reports, removed the cross from the bell-tower. Constantinople, 1453, all over again!

Oh, and Father Ould reports that Archbishop Jensen condemns the Glasspool Confirmation. Who would have expected? Unusual post, for the appearance of irony (re chasubles in NSW) on Stand Firm. Again, who would have expected?

David |Dah • veed| said...

Mehitabel, I do not recall the Islamists actually buying the church in Constantinople. At least we see a bit of progress.

MadPriest said...

What?!!! Haven't they paid us for it yet? I think Father Troll should send them a reminder. The interest alone should pay his website memberships for a long time to come.

Brad Evans said...

You and the fundiegelicals deserve each other.
Seriously delusional.

The Rev. Dr. Christian Troll said...

Oh Brad my boy, it's always nice to hear from you.

I was just using that lovely Star Wars pot-holder you made for me last father's day and thinking of how much Matron says you've improved since they started tying your hands to edge of the bed at night. At this rate it won't be long until it's safe to let you stand near the fish tank again.

BTW - Is that a lightsaber you've drawn Luke holding or were you just dreaming about the long lonely nights on Tatooine again? Either way it's awfully large.

Brad Evans said...

Tatooine?
What the heck is Tatooine?

The Rev. Dr. Christian Troll said...

Google is your friend, my son.

While you're here, you'll be delighted to know that Matron just called to say that as long as we don't mind changing your sheets every morning you should be well enough to come home to Ichabod Springs for Holy Week!

So please, my boy, don't start drawing pictures of hamsters again, or calling the Sisters of Mercy and pretending you're Richard Dawkins in a latex body-suit, and we'll all have a lovely visit in just a few short weeks time.