Sermons and Religion and Spirituality
There are a whole bunch of people that do not like sermons and religion. Sermons and religion conjure of concepts of being told what to think and how to act. But there is more to religion and sermons than most think. Let’s not get down on them too quickly. And likewise let us not start to believe that spirituality comes from the words of sermons and religion.
Just a thought on at least an interesting notion. Over 5 billion people in this world of around 7 billion identify with a religion. Probably about 2.5 billion “practice” their religion in some formal form. Others practice theirs in their own way. China still basically makes believers 3rd class citizens. Are that many people crazy? And only the other 2 billion are sane? (Numbers are just close as the numbers change by millions per day)
In the USA it can be calculated that there are only about 10% of the population that do not have some kind of faith. Notice the change from religion to faith. About 85% identify with an established religion.
In the USA it is obvious that no president has ever been elected by any group other than those who identify with a religion. Now that is something to think about.
We hope it is clear here that we are simply talking about quantitative and not qualitative. Contrary to that wonderful quote “numbers do not lie”. When speaking of counting people into a particular group numbers lie like heck. So throw out a percentage and you are still clearly within a plus or minus of acceptable numbers to make the concept correct.
I wonder how many people click the religion button and how many click the non-religion button who basically could not care less but it is just some kind of social instinct from how they were raised or their work environment, for examples. That early adulthood group has the least percentage of religious people. Duh! But it is interesting that even though that has been a truth for more than half a century the ones who went through that, by a huge percentage return as they age. ???? One of the main reasons given for such change back is having children. Hmm. That is an interesting notion.
Sermons and religion are two words that one would think conjures up negative but by the numbers that would be very wrong. Now if that does not get you thinking go watch re-runs of the conventions.
What is Love
Sermons are a trip. When I preached live I would not go over 15 minutes. I sometimes attend a huge 300 year old mission basilica. They have services every hour for about 6 hours. Now that makes these preachers go no more than 15 minutes, way cool. If a preacher preaches for 30 minutes straight I have no compunction about getting up and leaving. In my mind long sermons are about the preacher and the fact they have a captive audience. If you ever attended a lecture that lasted an hour and you remained you are an exception or were just daydreaming or planning out your week. Maybe flirting ;-) Timing in arguing a closing argument to a jury is real tough as you may just have to cover too much. But if you lose them it could cost a defendant a lifetime. For a preacher the stakes may be losing or gaining a soul for eternity, the pressure is enormous in both cases, believe me.
A sermon is not just a religious schooling. A normal second definition is a discussion of moral issues, sometimes referred to as a lecture. Now it would be morally wrong to make that lecture over an hour long with no break.
Our minds just do not work that way in general. A movie is a different matter as is a concert. The stimuli changes and story lines get broken up. Chase scenes and romance are different. Books are the same way. So if you could captivate (not hold captive) an audience for an hour you would be doing a fantastic job. You would have to go off message a bit with a joke and an anecdote or two. You would have to throw in some stuff that got them thinking their own thoughts. You would have to realize you really only get them for twenty out of that sixty minutes but when they came back in the message of the sermon they could pick it right up.
Have you ever seen a stand-up comedy routine that lasted a straight hour? My Sunday Sermons here are always real close to 1,250 words, normal reading speed is 300 words per minute. So let us say a sermon can be read in 5 minutes. Sometimes that seems to long, I break it up with pictures and music. I can hold someone’s attention for 5 minutes. Any longer may be rudely breaking into their busy schedule.
Some Where In France
Sermons are good but too long and not so good. Religion is good but fanatical not so good. Both have been the motivation and driving force for good. And both for bad. The worst part is that both are led by man and man is fallible.
From my studies I found one thing that is immutable and that is that power corrupts both. They say that absolute power absolutely corrupts. If a preacher or a higher up is considered to be the word of God then we have a problem, a big problem. When folks think that the leader of a group in a religion are actually speaking for God people can be misled into all sorts of calamity.
The Christians have a deal where there is the “word”. Generally considered the books of the bible. One problem is that there are over 100 versions out there. So within one religion there could be 100 preachers preaching something slightly different. Notice these versions are copywrited. In order to do that they must be significantly different than another work.
I attend several churches. Each litany is different. The songs are different. And certainly all leaders are different. I attend one of some size where the preacher receives no compensation and one where the leader makes well of 100 grand ones a year. I have attended two Joel Osteen parties and they were fun with a great concert. A Pope once declared a possibility of no physical hell. July 1999 Pope Paul II. That Biblical references to same were largely symbolic and metaphoric. Go figure on that.
Sermons and religion are awesome to get you “ramped up”. Any community, not necessarily conformity, is a good thing.
Spirituality is not the same.
Spirituality is not a physical place or space. It is not found in the liturgies or sermons. Now do not go down the path that I am saying that they don’t have a place. They are essential in my mind. I need the bump and I like hearing different views, they strengthen my own.
I am a Christian that follows direct commandments of Jesus Christ. All bibles are basically the same on this. God is love and love is God. “Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Now that is my sermons, my belief, my religion and my spirituality. The rest is awesome but only a spring board into getting us ready to love each other and our God which is spirituality.
Please enjoy sermons and religion, they are good for you.