So, Donald Miller wrote an article about why he doesn’t go to church much. You can read it here. I was surprised by how much I didn’t agree with it, given the way his earlier works blessed me when I was in college (especially some of the moving things he has written about needing community).
In essence, for this article Miller took some of the worst cliches and cultural trends of American life that contribute to our consumeristic view of church and handily bundled them all together in one article. I guess he’s performed us a service, though, because they’re kind of all there, ready to be dissected in one sitting.
You can go read me dissecting it over at Christ and Pop Culture. Also, please do me a favor and read this one. It’s important.
I largely agree with you – but I am *somewhat* sympathetic in that I understand why sermons aren’t appealing. I don’t personally enjoy sermons or lectures, unless I’m doing something. For example, I like to clean the kitchen with a lecture, debate, or whatever, going on – once I’m done, I turn it off, and I’ve retained a lot. I don’t retain a lot when just sitting and listening.
Now, part of me says, ‘suck it up, buttercup’ – God forbid we sit through a sermon that doesn’t necessarily ‘feel’ X,Y, or Z. God forbid we do something that we don’t *want* to do.
Another part of me, the sympathetic part, says that the sermon qua sermon needs to go away. It’s a medium of discourse/speaking/teaching/whatever that is simply fading away in terms of being relevant in our day and age. People simply don’t (by and large) do sermons. I’m very in favour of seeing more dynamic ways of teaching and learning being used in church, even over the classic sermon.
So in terms of the ‘sermon/lecture’ angle this whole thing has, I generally come down on the sympathetic side. I understand the sentiment completely. Miller, though, is pretty much looking for an excuse to not go to church, criticize something he doesn’t ‘feel’ and still be spiritual at the same time.
This was written in haste, so any incoherencies are my fault.
Good write up. Just wanted leave a note and say I recently discovered your blog and I’m enjoying it thus far!
After listening to so many so-called “sermons” on the radio here in So. Cal., I can understand why he doesn’t like them. I don’t like them either.
If they give you the gospel at all…they always rip it back from you as they tell you what you should, ought, or must be doing to be a real Christian.