Us Against Them
There is a little trick that pastors use quite often that I call “Damn the Sinners.” It is simply telling about how bad the world is by talking about 1 of the 2 hot button sins: Homosexuality or Abortion. Typically they will rail against these sins to a chorus of Amens. (I don’t care what they say it was Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve!). Then they will say something like “I just speak the truth!” Like that justifies everything they just said.
What ever happened to speaking the truth in love? What ever happened to trying to show people that you care about them? Heck, what ever happened to letting the Holy Spirit doing the convicting.
But more than that, what ever happened to speaking the truth on subjects that challenge your church members. It just seems to me like such a cop out to say that Homosexuality is a sin. Get up on your soapbox about gossip, or cheating on your taxes, or about ignoring the poor, or a million other things that you know that people in the audience are dealing with because they are the same things that you deal with.
But pastors don’t do that very often. Instead the stand and rail against THE WORLD, and speak about how bad THEY are. It is such a classic speaker,s trick to get people on your side, and it drives me absolutely crazy.
While we are on this subject, if you are going to throw out as wrong something that no one in the audience feels is wrong you have to sort of back that up. I will never forget hearing Vodie Bauchman speak one time and he was saying a list of people who were tearing this country apart. It was some Hollywood types and such. To each one he would name there would be a chorus of Amens. Suddenly he said “Oprah.” You could have heard a pin drop in that place. We were a crowd full of pastors, men mostly who never really watched Oprah. She was that person our wives watched on occasion. So Vodie went on to explain her ideas of Christianity and some of the things she had said about there being many ways to God.
The thing was, he knew enough to educate us about something, not simple rail against it. Saying that Oprah was a problem wasn’t enough. He needed to tell us why she was a problem.
It is easy to say “That’s baaaaad” like a sheep; it is harder to say why it is bad. It is even harder still to not simply decry things as evil, but speak the truth of them in love.