Archive for January, 2007

Sow Scripture, Not Doctrine

We had a guest pastor today. Her name is Candace and she is an awesome speaker. Her sermon today was on the parable of the seeds, and when I first looked at the bulletin I thought, “Oh, man, how many times have I heard this?” But it wasn’t the same old, same old. In fact, I was moved to grab my notebook and take notes. That hasn’t happened in awhile.

Candace talked about planting apple seeds and expecting to harvest strawberries. She also played a clip from, The Two Towers, prefacing it with: when faced with the news that the enemy was coming, Aragorn wanted to risk everything and ride out to meet the horde. King Theoden, choose instead to protect his people, and determined they would make their stand behind the walls of Helm’s Deep where they had successfully waited out previous sieges. However the siege did not go as expected, and when they had been pushed to their last defense and all seems lost, Theoden again asked Aragorn for council — and Aragorn urged him to ride into danger rather than away from it. Theoden complied and the tide of battle turned.

Candace then showed the clip of Frodo and Sam, when Frodo was ready to give up, and we listened to Sam’s entire pep-talk, ending on the “as long as there is still good in the world it’s worth fighting for” line.

Candace said that too many churches are hiding within the walls of their fortresses, and too few of them are going out to meet the enemy. She said we need to stop promoting church doctrine, and instead read, live and share God’s word. Her words, “No matter what you believe about how the Bible came to be (and contrary to popular belief, it did not fall, leather bound, from Heaven) the fact remains that it is a powerful tool for transforming lives.”

She said we need to sow the seed of God’s word wherever we are, and we need to sow it without actions more than our words. “You can’t just talk about planting and harvesting. Sowing is an action. You actually have to physically do it.”

If you want strawberries, you’d better plant strawberry seeds. If you want Christians, plant the word of God. She said that is the only way we will ever reach the people in the world who are spiritually hungry, but institutionally alienated.

There was nothing in Candace’s sermon I didn’t know. There was nothing in the sermon I don’t try to live. What blew me away was to hear a denominational pastor admit that the doctrine is getting in the way of the message. I have had so many arguments with church folk who place doctrine before all other considerations. Jesus’ command was to love God and our neighbor — he didn’t say a dang thing about denominational constitutions.

Here is my simple life philosophy — I learned it in Sunday School kindergarten and it’s served me just fine all these years. I try very hard not to treat anybody in a way I wouldn’t accept being treated — once upon a time known as, The Golden Rule, and these days pretty much relagated to the realm of fairy tales.