These are a few of my favorite things...

I have been thinking a lot lately about some of the worst sermons I have ever heard. Maybe its because the only station that comes in on our alarm clock is the "Victory Radio Network" (where the truth comes in waves). Our son has just figured out how to use the sleep and snooze buttons and loves to stand there, turning it on and off (not bad for 13 months). So, while I am folding the laundry, I find myself listening bits and pieces of what my husband like to refer to as the "false teaching." Most of it is too cheesy for my Episcopalian brain (and fairly unsentimental personality) to tolerate. Most of it is also just junk. And as I listen to it, I am reminded of the worst sermons I have heard over the years (all of which were given in the hallowed pulpits of Episcopal churches).

Worst Children's Sermon: When I was looking around for a place to do my internship (whilst in seminary), I happened upon this little gem in one of the most coveted placements. The preacher (the rector, by the way) began holding up a drawer and pulling stuff out of it - it's his "junk drawer". He went on to talk about how the church is like God's junk drawer, with all sorts of different things he can use to get his job done. (It happened to be "Homecoming Sunday" where they were showing off all their programs - it took up three rooms - thus God's junk drawer.) When it came to the interactive part, he asked the kids "Where do you find God?" And this beautiful little girl, probably about 5 years old, all dressed in a ruffly and lacy dress, raised her hand and said, "In our hearts." The church practically melted. But apparently that wasn't what the preacher was thinking about - "No," he said (she looked crushed). He continued (and I quote, because I will never forget this - it echoes in my head from time to time) "In the church. God opens up the roof of the church, looks inside and says, 'hello, my people - my junk drawer." Nice. Just like Toastmasters taught ya - always wrap it up with your main point, cuz people are too stupid to think for themselves. Especially little 5 year olds who think God is in their hearts. Sheesh...

Most Unprepared Sermon: This little gem made both me and my mom laugh uncontrollably in the pews. The preacher stood before the congregation, took a dramatic pause, exhaled, and then said, "There's not enough quiet in the world these days (insert various examples of noise). Let's sit in quiet for the next few moments. Amen"

Worst Easter Sermon:
My first position was an assistant for someone who was a self-proclaimed gnostic (another beaut by him was all about being a gnostic). I don't think he believed in much. I could probably fill twenty pages with the crap he preached, but this one was pretty good. Even a parishioner of mine asked me afterwards, "Do you think he really should have preached that on Easter?" I should probably add that his daughter was someone who literally saw and talked to dead people. For the first five minutes, he talked about resurrection and life after death, not bad. But then he decided to describe life after death. His daughter, you see, has talked to people on the other side and told him what it was like. We were with people we loved, even our favorite pets. We lived in beautiful houses, had well-manicured lawns (I am not kidding) and never lacked for anything. We drove our fantasy cars and had the perfect job for us - the one God wanted us to have in life. And we did it well, too. (I am not kidding). So, don't worry about hating your job or what you drive or where you live or if you are starving because in the next life you will get everything you ever wanted. Because that's Jesus' promise to us on this Easter day, when he rose from the dead to give us eternal life. I should also add that I was sitting in the celebrant's chair, which faces the congregation. Needless to say, I was glad I had worked on my poker face the day before.

Worst Baptismal Sermon: Same guy as above- probably all I need to say. The week before, he had read an article about water crystals. You see, these scienticians, er, I mean, scientists, had done an experiment where they grew water crystals. To some of these, they played classical music - to others they played horrible rock music (like ACDC or something). To others they said "I love you" and to others still they yelled obscenities at them over and over. It seems that the crystals that were indulged with love and classical music grew into the most magnificent formations - perfect and symmetrical. The others grew deformed and some were even stunted from growing. You see, that's what happens when we are baptised. We have water poured over us, and we have the living water of Baptism within us. If we listen to rock music or are the receiver of recurrent obscenities, that living water will become deformed within us. But if we hear that we are loved and listen to classical music, then we're okay. It's science. It has to be right. When I looked over at the soon-to-be-baptized-baby's parents' faces, which were white, and whose mouths were hanging wide open. That's right. It's up to you, folks, whether you screw up this kids living water or not. Good luck!

Worst All Saints Sermon:
The guy stood in the pulpit and read the hymn "I sing a song of the saints of God." Said Amen, then sat down.

I know there are more, but I am tired and you are probably tired of reading these.

What are your favorites? Any good ones out there? I know there are worse ones. There have to be!


Doorman-Priest said...

How come you're always at my church when I preach then?

Not Your Mother in Heaven said...

Hey, I tried to keep your identity a secret. I thought I was being nice, but I can't help you if you decide to out yourself.

Padre Mickey said...

Jajajajajaja ¡Increible!
I was at a church once where the Rector quoted Sean Luc Picard more often than Jesus.