Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday Morning Preacher: Even John Chrysostom had bad days

I preached up at Fort Bragg yesterday, which was great fun. The waiter at Eggheads remembered me--including my tea order!

It was funny trying to prepare my sermon on the man born blind. No one seemed to have anything to say about it. "Yup," the commentaries said. "Born blind. Healed. Good one, J-dawg."

I eventually went looking for other sermons and found this one by the great 4th Century preacher John Chrysostom, Mr. Golden Mouth. He couldn't find much to say either. The upshot of this sermon is we should know our Bible so that we can "exhibit all boldness of speech towards those who attempt to accuse, and who say anything against the Christians, and to stop their mouths" like the man born blind did.

He then gets in a little dig at popular culture: "Yet if a harper, or dancer, or stage-player call the city, they all run eagerly, and feel obliged to him for the call, and spend the half of an entire day in attending to him alone; but when God speaketh to us by Prophets and Apostles, we yawn, we scratch ourselves, we are drowsy." Same old story, because people are people, you know. Entertainment is going to be more fun than study.

I found this gospel an interesting text to illustrate the "plain meaning of Scripture" argument. The truth is, when the meaning of Scripture is plain, there's not much more to say about it. It's when it isn't plain that the preaching gets interesting. And challenging. And contradictory. If all Scripture were so plain, there wouldn't be much to preach on.

I'll post the sermon in a bit.

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