As I progress in this series about sermons, I’ve come to realize the issues I’m raising are more relevant to evangelical churches. I’m not against sermons per se, as one reader pointed out Jesus himself gave sermons, however I’m finding lots of issues in our modern interpretation of them. Today’s post is a case in point.
One of the worst accusations you can make about/to someone is that they are self-centered. It’s quite damning and devastating, and it leaves a sting that seems to follow you around like a speeding ticket. However I suspect that almost all of us are self-centered. Obviously some more than others, but it’s just too darn easy to get wrapped up in yourself.
But I wonder if the church perpetuates and even encourages (passively) self-centeredness.
Sermons are often all about you – what you can learn, what you can do to better yourself, what you need to do. It’s about your faith. What can happen subtly, subconsciously, is that we become self-centered people. After all that’s why we are at the church service – to see what we can get out of it. The role of a passive participant, especially one sitting in a chair just listening, allows ample opportunity to focus just on yourself.
So you’re probably wondering if sermons shouldn’t be about us then what the heck should they be about? I’m not pretending to offer a perfect solution or model but a guy named Jesus is my best answer. The only way we’re going to heal, they only way we’re going to learn love as our primary operating system is by meeting and knowing Jesus. We certainly try to will ourselves into being better people and Christians, and sometimes even get decent results, though that’s often just the buzz from a motivational speech yet to fade into a hangover. What I mean is we cannot save ourselves.
Do you think we are naturally self-centered? Do you agree some churches help feed this tendency? How can we keep sermons around and not allow them to feed self-centeredness?