Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Pastor's Letter - Part 3

Parts 1 and 2 are the preceding posts. My musings are bolded.

As I mentioned to you when we met together, I spend much time and effort every week researching the text (reading a book), praying for insight, crafting the message (Looking for proof-texts, even if I have to take something out of context), choosing words and phrases carefully, and trying to develop a sermon that accurately communicates God's truth in a manner that will interest and impact the listener. (Even if it takes every bad joke I have, doggone it!) I not only labor over what to say, but how to say it. I also have my message vetted each week by three other Christian Church ministers, two of which have doctorate degrees. (Should I be impressed? Are their names Annas and Caiaphas?) These men do not pull punches when it comes to their evaluations. (So you can take criticism from them, but not those within your own congregation? They can be honest, but others don't even get a response?) I read the sermon out loud to them while they have a copy in their hands to mark and write comments on. (Maybe we should compare notes!) Then they point out anything they see that might make my sermon stronger, including phrases that could be misunderstood or taken the wrong way. (They really let you keep in that bunny joke last Easter? That was cruel of them.) That is one reason I am surprised that you have misunderstood the intended meaning of phrases, points or entire messages I have preached. (I see it more as a disagreement that a misunderstanding. I will get to posting some of my comments and maybe some will post their understandings as well.) I am trying to do everything I can to rightly handle the Word of Truth and am taking for more precautions than the average preacher in doing so. (Did you just call yourself above-average? I happen to know that 50% of all people are below average.) I have been reassured by other mature and respected Christian leaders (who happen to be my friends) that my preaching is Biblical (because I use the Bible), on target, and effective. I will always be striving to grow and improve as a preacher and follower of Jesus, but I believe I am already competent as a preacher of the Gospel. (I have seen some of your other beliefs, so I am not impressed)

It is hard for me not to take a sarcastic tone in light of the events that have transpired. The lies and manipulations, the hurtful words, the pettiness over things like our not acknowledging a postcard. It is all unbelievable at times. I read through my concerns, concerns that I still have today regarding your preaching and the leadership of University Christian Church. But I must wipe the dust off of my feet and move on. Hopefully to a better place, but that is in the hands of God.

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