Browsing around to try to get a start on the sermon for next week, I ran across this ">article on pastoral plagiarism.
What the original writer seems to be saying is that we cannot trust to the Spirit, that we have to have “the best sermon” at all costs, and the end justifies the means.
Well, that brings up some questions for me.
- How do we decide who “the best” preachers are? Even those we often think of as great speakers and preachers had off days; are all their sermons to be considered equally “great?” And is it really a good idea to elevate these people to the level of the only ones who can preach?
I’m with Ray Van Neste on this one—we preachers have to trust in the Spirit to convey the truth of God to the congregation, over time, in spite of ourselves. If we use another person’s words, we are not true to ourselves, or to the gospel. Does it really make sense to preach a sermon written for, say, a rural majority-white congregation in
This is troubling. Are we so afraid of not “hitting a home run” that we cannot trust the Spirit? Are we really putting things of the world (a “successful” sermon, whatever that is) ahead of divine inspiration?
I thank God for the example of the friends and blogpals on this ring, who every week gather at a virtual sermon-writing party, difficult and stressful as it is, to pull out another sermon from our hearts and spirits, praying for the Spirit to breathe life into it, that it may rise up and show God to our congregations.
In the immortal words of Songbird and the other 11th Hour hosts:
- The Holy Spirit has your back.