Sermon Summary: Speak Up, Week 1

Sermon Summary: Sitting in church today, I wondered how I could improve retaining and acting upon the sermons our minster preaches. I decided that I could summarize them here which would help me remember them and create a log of them. Hopefully, I will be able to do this weekly (baring traveling, sickness, or bad weather) so that I can do a better job at intentionally living.

Our church uses sermon series for preaching, instead of using the lectionary. We have an incredible preacher who is gifted at creating a message and delivering it. Today was the start to a new series: Speak Up. According to our church's website, the series is defined as: 

When do we as Christians speak up for our faith, our morals and our principles? What are we to say in a political setting? A neighborhood setting? Join us for the next three weeks as we explore what it means to share our Christian beliefs while we also respect and honor the views and beliefs of others.

Today's topic was What Does Jesus Teach Us About Civil Discourse? and used Matthew 22: 19-21.

(This, of course, represents un-civil discourse)

To counter the belief that Jesus never addressed social issues, Matthew 22:19-21 was read. It is in this passage that Jesus was asked what the Jews should do about paying taxes to the Roman government. He asked to see a coin and was given a Denarius. He replied to give what is God's to God and what is Caesar's to Caesar. As described by our pastor, the Denarius was important because the face of Caesar on it represented a god. Therefore, the Jews were committing idolatry by carrying around the coins which caused them great discomfort. However, their quality of life was good from the perspective that, since the Roman government took over, the wars had ceased. 

Fast forward to today's world: Our social discourse has become embarrassing. Turning on the television shows men and women lacking basic decency when talking about topics of interest. They're yelling, crying, name calling, and down right rude. Basically, their mother's wouldn't allow them to speak this way if they still lived with their mothers! 

But yet, people watch these shows. They come to believe this is normal communication. Slowly but surely, the minority has taken over the rules of communication, in addition to the message, and the majority has lost the energy to communicate in this discourse battlefield.

Today's sermon applied the lessons of Jesus to create three general rules of communication that can be applied to all types of discourse:
1. Assess what the desired outcome is.
      A. Is the question being asked to seek out information OR is it being asked to hide the transmission of an 

      B. Is the discussion attempting to dig deeper into a topic OR is it trying to prove another person dumb or wrong 
because his opinion is different?

      ** Somewhere along the line, we've given ourselves permission to separate ourselves from our messages. Using the media as an example, we've allowed people to believe that they can be extremely rude and disrespectful because they are transmitting a crucial message. HOWEVER, this behavior stops the process of communication and prevents learning. Separating the message from the person, does a major disservice to the outcome of the communication.

2. Embrace Complexity.
      A. In the passage read, it would be wonderful if it would have continued and there had been more follow-up 

questions. But, often, the next question isn't asked because if will lead to huge complexity. 
      B. It's often easier NOT to know the complexity of a situation. It's easier to see the situation as black and white, 
wrong and right, than to see it as gray.

      ** If you can't embrace that topics/issues/life is hard and complex, then it's virtually impossible to be humble. Recognizing the complexity of a situation doesn't make the solution any easier (in fact, it often makes it harder), but it does allow us to discourse more in a voice of love than hate.

3. Walk Humbly.

      A. Jesus was the one man who didn't need to be humble b/c he was the son of God, but he was the most humble of all, over and over again. Despite having to repeat the messages or watch his disciples struggle, he never was degrading.
      B. Jesus was trying to teach us to do the same. He had strong opinions. He was confident in his message. He was kind, loving, and humble in his discourse.
      ** How do we know if we're walking humbly? 
            1. Pay attention to if we're listening to others. Listening. Not Hearing.
            2. Have respectful dialogue (when love rules the heart, the dialogue matches)
            3. Be able to live in a kind community with others who disagree

The really, really funny thing about this message: My husband and I got into a tiff on the car ride to church. While in this tiff, I kept telling myself that it was good we were going to church because it would soften our hearts and ears. I knew that we were both angry because of the communication style used and not because of anything else, but I couldn't swallow my pride enough to say that in the car. Little did I know that I would find a lecture about being humble in communication in the sanctuary! 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thought provoking writing. A very good message, indeed.
Keep up the good work on all subjects.