February 24th, 2008


A Sermon At My Church

The following sermon was delivered at my church this past October:
A Question of Faith

Theologian Wilfred Cantwell Smith was one of the first to note that, while there is considerable diversity in what people believe--in the content of people’s faith--that actually there’s remarkable similarity in the ways people do their believing. In their “faithing.” Actually, it was a few years later that James Fowler started talking about the importance of understanding the distinction between belief and faith--the distinction between what you give intellectual assent to, what you’re willing to say is the content, the tenets you’re willing to hold--and the way you live those in your life, the way you understand them.

Read more...Collapse )
I'll put my written reaction to the sermon in my next post.


My Reaction to That Sermon

After I had heard (and read the transcript of) the sermon I posted below, I posted that transcript on the internet forum run by my church’s young adult group. Two of my friends replied that they didn’t think much of the sermon; here was my response (I’ve changed some names to protect identities):
I would put things much more strongly than Lester and Eliza have: I think this is an outrageous and offensive sermon that cruelly insults anyone whose way of looking at the world fails to meet Rev. Smith's standards of piety. Read more...Collapse )
After that, the thread on the young adults forum became a debate over whether the minister is in fact intentionally malicious or just clueless about the effect that her rhetoric has. (I argued malicious.)

In the end, I think the subject matter of the sermon quoted above is a prime example of the unhappy UU-clergy trend I wrote about in the sermon I preached from the very same pulpit, fifteen months before “Rev. Smith” honored our congregation with her presence.

What do you think?