“I Can’t Believe I’m Gonna Say This!”

I like sermons in which I have some things I’m a little bit scared to say.

And when I’m giving that sermon in which I have some things I’m a bit scared to say and I am approaching the time in the sermon when it’s time to say them, inside I’m like “I can’t believe I’m gonna say this! But if I don’t it will kill me!”

I had one of those moments yesterday in Week Two of the Oddballs series. The whole sermon was about being “resident aliens,” taken from I Peter 2:11-12: “I urge you as strangers and aliens in this world . . . ” The focus of my talk was that while we live here, we belong there — that because of our faith we are both out of step with our culture and out of place on planet earth.

Anyway, part of being “out of step” has to do with modern Christianity’s use of politics. It bothers me when the church climbs into bed with a particular politician or policy, in a sense claiming that a vote for that candidate is a vote for Jesus. Please. And church people on both the right and the left are guilty — though honestly, the evangelicalism of which I am a part usually lands on the right.

So I said all that. Even used the phrase “gets into bed.” And I followed that up by saying that the church would make its loudest statement on abortion . . . if Christian couples would stop having them. If abortion doctors could no longer count on business from church-related people, well that might be even more effective than overturning Roe v. Wade (a case I’d be glad to have overturned).

I suspect that I said those words in the hearing of some people who had had or paid for abortions. It got very quiet in there.

But I’m glad I conquered my fear and said what needed to be said. Because it’s usually the most authentic preaching I have.