Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tales from the Trenches: Mother's Day at church

Beating a dead horse here, but I felt as if I needed to further the discussion on the Sunday sermon. For those not church attenders, don't worry, I'm not preaching.

We've been covering the Sermon on the Mount in a series study on Sunday mornings. I admit that it is kind of slowly creeping along anyhow and then the pastor hit us with the Sunday sermon.

"Gouged eye. Severed hand."

Excuse me? Aren't we supposed to have a warm and fuzzy mom themed service? I mean, I understand that last year it ended up being a sermon on being a good submissive wife, which was an ouch enough. (The submissive wife thing, though in the bible and yes I agree that I've read it and all, is a very difficult thing for many women. I am one of them who find it difficult.) Was it seriously appropriate to do a sermon on adul*tery and provo*cative dressing on Mother's Day?

I decided to write the pastor. I sent him an e-mail Sunday night.


I feel like I should write about today's sermon. I know that when [Hubs] and I left, our heads were tipped to the side, we had the shocked eyebrow look and all [Hubs] could say was "wow." The wow was not an impressed wow.

I understand that dealing with the subject of adul*tery is going to be a sore subject at best anytime. However, though I realize that it fell into the schedule, I'm thinking that Mother's Day was probably not the best day to approach the subject. Instead of walking away with the warm-fuzzy mommy thing after the sermon, I was left shaking my head. I couldn't help but to wonder if there were visitors with their moms and how they may have been offended by the subject of the day (by day choice only), as well.

I have a friend who has been the victim of her husband's one time adul*terous affair. I could only imagine that sitting in the congregation, having lived through that experience, given forgiveness and hearing this sermon on Mother's Day would only be like rubbing salt into the wound. As much as I know you realize, there has to be someone or some people out in the congregation affected by this very subject. I'm glad that [Hubs] and I have a relationship not affected by adul*tery. For others though, any other day would be difficult enough. But on Mother's Day? Ouch.

I understand that you may have felt that perhaps this fell on the schedule for a reason. Maybe [Hubs] and I were the only ones left shaking our heads all. day. long. I'm just thinking, for whatever it's worth, that though we are on a thematic sermon thing that perhaps breaking away from that on a special occasion isn't a bad thing. We've broken away for other things.

Mother's Day sermon. Adul*tery? Provo*cative dressing? Made me glad that my shirt collar was high and my pants were long.

Prayerfully sent,


Apparently, we weren't the only ones that saw it as a problem. I know of one man who spoke with him directly after church and also heard that there was a line of people waiting after him.

In the comments yesterday, Kaycee brings up a good point. Many pastors will preach from the pulpit a certain issue that they feel needs to be addressed in the congregation. My previous pastor did it all the time. Our pastor, only with us for about a year and a half, is bold enough to go and discuss a problem with someone in person. To handle something from the pulpit is not his style. At least, I don't think that it is. I have to say that this particular subject is one that is probably not the best to handle in a Sunday morning sermon if you are trying to only single out one or a few. But again, perhaps he sees adultery as a big church problem. I'm pretty involved and I've seen none of that. I know of a few women who have been wronged by their husbands. One of those women reconciled with her husband and they are fine. The other woman, in service yesterday, was dumped by her husband for another woman. She tried to work it out with him and he wanted nothing to do with her. She and her three children moved back to Ohio. I was told that she was in tears after the sermon. I know that Pastor is aware of that situation, though isn't of the other. Even so, my husband termed it right yesterday when he wrote on my church notes, "tackilicious." Tackilicious, indeed.

I did receive an e-mail from my pastor on Tuesday evening stating the following:

"I appreciate your feedback...I really do. I need to always be sensitive and thoughtful in my sermon selections."

Certainly, Hubs and I aren't ones to censor. That's not what this was about. Pastor wasn't apologizing for his sermon selection, either. We didn't expect or want him to. All we wanted him to do was to consider timing and sermon subject matter. For whatever that's worth, I think that the multitude of parishioners coming at him from all sides about it has probably gotten that point across to him-- a little loud in some cases and probably completely crystal clear.


Rach said...

Again, all I can say is "wow"--and not in a good way. Mother's Day was definitely NOT the day to have such a sermon. I'm glad you (and so many others) were not afraid to speak up and let Pastor know that.

BTW, I was finally able to see those so-ugly-they're-cute baby birds of yours. :o) They're WONDERFUL! :o)

Kaycee said...

Ouch, that sounds like it as a pretty controversial sermon.

It's good that you emailed him. I email my pastors all the time, not so much to complain but with questions. In fact, they're probably getting sick of it considering I've only been attending church regularly for about six weeks. I just can't let things go.

On Sunday half of our sermon was taken up by a video that had nothing whatsoever to do with the Bible or God. Just a compilation of miscellaneous mom quotes set to music. That bugged me too.