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Eric's Sunday Sermon; Do Not Be Afraid of What and Who You Love

Updated on February 18, 2016

Doesn't this look kind of like a temple

In fact many of the points in the Grand Canyon are named after concepts of temples
In fact many of the points in the Grand Canyon are named after concepts of temples | Source

Someone says going to church is a bad thing?

Lately I have had the interesting opportunity to read about folks who think that going to church is a bad thing. And they have pretty interesting theories as to why that is true. There are those that think if a pastor is paid then she is a “hireling” and cannot do a good job because of that. Wouldn’t it be cool if full time ministers had someone to go around with them and just get them everything they needed so the minister would not need money to provide for herself? Or I suppose they could all have full time jobs, and only minister part time. But then who would go to the hospital when someone was sick or attend to weekday services and or ceremonies like funerals? It is a cool idea for a minister to not be paid but extremely impractical in modern society.

There are prayer rituals that are bothersome to some. The words are not just right and say something that could be – if you wanted to, interpreted as not biblical.

Of course there is the standby that church goers are hypocritical. I guess that means that non-church goers are immune from that human condition of saying one thing and doing another. I wish that I would never do that, but alas I am not perfect.

Then there is this strange notion that you are not getting perfect stuff in church. Somehow and someway any doctrine or liturgy is bad for you. What I am saying here is that there is a school of thought that suggests that just going to church is bad. The services are bad for you, being in a building is bad for you, having a lectern or pulpit is bad, getting up and dressed to go is bad and even meeting with likeminded people is bad for you.

And here is a real kicker. If you attend church you cannot and do not study, pray, meditate or think on your own. Like somehow going to church is the only thing that one can do if that is what they do.

Just a little ditty to lighten the mood and it kind of fits

Just some art from my son

The woe of man
The woe of man | Source

Just to contemplate is a good thing!

Of course here we always have my Christian bias but the same arguments can be made and are about anything having to do with joining together in a special place to be led in worship.

Now isn’t that interesting.

Eric’s Sunday Sermons were originally and are still today focused on folks who do not necessarily attend church. That is for a variety of reasons but the foremost is that just because someone does not attend church does not mean they are not interested in spiritual stuff. But this, not so widely held, belief that going to church is bad in and of itself is a little strange.

Now here is the theory behind this concept. If you go to church you accept what a paid person is telling you as the only truth. And basically activists in this area contend that all preachers are bad. The argument almost never comes out as “some preachers” are bad. It is amazing. Someone who never has been or even heard of the congregation that I meet with makes a determination it is bad based on the above concepts. Now keep in mind these are fellow followers of Christ.

Now one would expect that in a particular way – say between dogmatic Protestants and dogmatic Catholics. We could understand them objecting to the other’s dogma. But not that it was bad to go to church.

So for you who do not attend church and feel a little uneasy about that, do not worry there are those who say you should not.

I hope that the way I laid that out makes it interesting to you as it is meant to be more of an interesting observance than an objection. It really is not up to me to judge that kind of thing except for me. I know that is a cop out so I won’t do that. I think that most people reading these sermons take it and apply it for themselves and my views may help them see their views in a new light. These sermons are not intended to tell you how to think in anyway. They are an invitation to sit back and ponder. We hope they are an invitation for further contemplation to your wonderful situation in life – yes and then sometimes to help lift you up over a hurdle that you may be facing. As I like to think these are a giddy up instead of a whoa!

What do I know?

Ain't no pearls of wisdom here, just good old fashioned questioning.
Ain't no pearls of wisdom here, just good old fashioned questioning. | Source

These dudes can sing. Very cool.

I think we all think for ourselves.

I hope I did that just right. I was a preacher in a congregation. Nonpaid, nonordained and without a pulpit. And the above is what I tried to do when I preached. We are not that strange of a lot of preachers. Maybe not the norm but close. See my point? If that is what I tried to do then I am not unique and many ministers try to do the same thing. No poison koolaid involved. Perhaps that puts this in perspective.

Hey, do not think this discussion is limited to Christians it is relevant to all congregations of worshippers worldwide.

Now here is the bad part upon which I am judgmental, I admit it. My brothers and sisters are not automaton drones walking around with push buttons and remote control. They are living, breathing sentient souls. Shoot some of them do not even like how I act and darn well tell me so. What nerve ;-) So in order for these concepts to ring true people would need to be morons. And they are not. All people I know have an amount of discernment.

Let me relate a little story. My wife was raised communist. And she loved it as a child. Everything was in order and there was no deviation from that order. She was even like a hall monitor in school to make sure all the other children did not deviate. And to question authority was a literal crime against the state. Little children walking in lockstep in their exactly the same uniforms. Her mom tells me that even after school in her little cadre of farm children she was strict with her friends.

Now she was partially raised by “nuns” in a Buddhist monastery type place. And she loved that structure also. After some time after our marriage and her citizenship here she was walking in the snow(the first she had ever seen) and was touched in just a moment with the undying love and acceptance of Jesus Christ. Baptized soon after and in a congregation with a very charismatic priest. One day after bible study this gal who just loved going with the group flow told me that the priest was wrong.

I must admit that I was taken a little aback at the revolt of thought. But being the preacherman husband I had to inquire. Was this exception to what the priest had said a matter of her ego thinking she knew better? No she thought not. And so I inquired what it was and she related that; God loves us unconditionally and he was putting conditions upon it. I pulled the car over and did a little jig dance right there. We still laugh about it to this day.

Be yourself and all will come out just right.


I am most certain that you got the point of that little story. Even those of us most inclined to go along just to get along have our own wonderful delightful minds and hearts. In communion or worship we find commonality not conformity. In love we find the fruit of the good stuff that heartens our souls and enriches our lives.

As is my want I shall give some scripture: “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” That is from John 8:32 – isn’t that cool, that Bible has some cool stuff.

And is my other want, let me leave you with this thought. Do not let somebody tell you that you cannot do something because you cannot think for yourself and will follow blindly. Boy howdy you are something special and if nobody told you lately let me tell you: You are special and if you really have given a matter some deep thought then you are right and go with it no matter the consequences.

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    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 7 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Alun, thank you for this good comment. I kind of set these "sermons" up as a church. Friends and I get together and look at an issue of moral import. Certainly here the comments are just as important as the hub. So we take what is good about church and apply it here minus the face to face. Personally I attend church but am not a member of one. We are close with other Christians. And God is not a "religious" notion though we do talk doctrine sometimes.

      Folks say that it is not good to talk politics or religion. But it seems to work just fine here.

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 8 months ago from Essex, UK

      Not being religious Eric, I don't keep too much up to date on peoples' attitudes to church attendance, so your article surprised and interested me. I didn't know there was some debate even among believers about whether attending church was a 'good thing' or not.

      I do not go to church, but I hope I can look at this objectively. Whilst not essential (even for believers) I am sure that church attendance is a beneficial experience for many - sharing time with like-minded people, receiving guidence on issues of morality, and gaining comfort and reassurance in times of stress.

      But of course church attenders should retain their own personal ability to guage right and wrong, fact and opinion. I understand that 'faith' is a necessary part of belief in God, but it is not a necessary part of listening to a human being, whether it be a preacher or anyone else. Therefore those who go to church should surely take all the positives from the experience without necessarily taking all that the preacher says as (pardon the pun) 'Gospel'. Cheers, Alun

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 20 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks much Lawrence. I appreciate your support.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 20 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Amen to that Eric. Loved the story about your wife.

      Lawrence

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 21 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Frank I am glad you got caught up, you pay me a very nice compliment by reading and commenting on these sermons. I am glad they did not disappoint.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 21 months ago from Shelton

      what another good old fashion sermon, can't believe I missed this one.. so glad though that I caught up.. awesome Eric.. awesome :)

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 21 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      My friend we are tempted to instruct but that serves little purpose even with my 6 year old. If we experience together we are both made better. I have never made a mistake that I could not make worse on a second chance. Sometimes we hit the mark and do not make the same mistake twice. All I can do is try. I am blessed to have you visit and let me know it.

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 21 months ago from New Orleans, LA

      I appreciate your sermons and the room you give people to find their own way.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 21 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Well shucks, you make this old preacher man blush. You know we speak a lot about love and kindness around here. But I get shown more than is my worth. Thank you and thanks for putting a kick in my giddyup this day.

    • daydreamer13 profile image

      daydreamer13 21 months ago

      This is one of my favorite hubs! I wish I had found you sooner!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 21 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ed, I like your attitude. I certainly consider my self blessed to have my Christianity. I surely do hope that I never cram it down someones throat. That would be contrary to the precept of love being the foundation. I hope the day finds you happy and smiling.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 21 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you DDE, we are truly blessed in love.

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 21 months ago

      Eric , the day that practicing Christianity is a harm ,then that same harm would have to have been accepted by those of no faith , kind of makes you ponder on those who want freedom from religion , I say its a guilt complex of there own creation ! For years on forums I've argued that to be offended by religion is nothing but a ruse on their part . No one "stuffs it down their throat " as is often the accusation . Love all you want my friend and love just 'how you want '! let the nay-sayers rant all they want to . My prediction , it simply means they are coming around to the love !.........awesome sermon !

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 21 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      You can love whoever you choose to no one should feel they are restricted from loving anyone not from their own backgrounds. Great attitude about love.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 21 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dora it is a pleasure to have you join us. Funny thing about Sunday and worship service. We look forward to it and just enjoy it so. I wish everybody could.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 21 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ed, I think a little righteous indignation is called for. I would like to claim my life is hectic. But it is not. I really get to choose what and where I go and who I choose to do it with. I am not seeing the harm I am causing others so we will keep on keeping on,

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 21 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ruby it is great to hear from you. We don't go out much. And when we do we just stick to ourselves generally. So church is great to go out to and maybe even hug a folk or two. In fact I do not know any of my church buddies politics or even their favorite teams. I just know them about worship stuff.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 21 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Brian what a cool experience. That sounds like a wonder place of worship. Very interesting to say the least.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 21 months ago from The Caribbean

      Eric, you addressed several issues here. On the topic of church attendance, some of us have the desire to worship with fellow believers. We are not bothered by the human details of the preacher's life; we are anxious to learn what he or she has to teach which will empower us to live better lives.

      You certainly write for everyone. Thank you.

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 21 months ago

      Awesome thoughts my friend ! You know , I just read a poll taken at a famous university , --aren't they all ! That said almost seventy percent of those polled said "political correctness is running rampant in America today "! Same with the critique of how Christians practice their faith ! And the key word to me has ALWAYS been faith , Why ? Because that's all you need to be a Christian ! I don't think God will punish me too badly when I say .....to hell with those who don't like our ways . I better stop here though ......, I don't want to tarnish a beautiful sermon like Yours !

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 21 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I was raised in church as a child, then was saved and baptized when I was twenty four. I was a faithful church goer, even taught bible school then life happened. I am now going to church and joined about 6-8 months ago. I love to go and listen to Bro. Dave. He preaches by telling stories, they are usually funny, but he gets his point across. I love to laugh so that makes me a happy camper. What I love too is the people who love you and would walk that extra mile if needed. Oh there's one old grouch but I figure he has his reasons. We are not perfect and never will be, but we try. I loved the Janis video. I haven't heard that in years. Loved your sermon..

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 21 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill, ya I'm talking to you. Whatcha going to do about it? We are getting rain again, so for down here we will plant for early spring. Thanks Bill for spreading the fertilizer in your yard, and the love out here.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 21 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Linda, that is how I feel about the church we attend. My son has a couple of favorite men he asks me about during the week and he loves to give them hugs. It is about getting together. And I cannot for the life of me think of a better reason to get together. Just a second ago I had a bad thought, and something the preacher said made me stop it and repent right here and right now. That is cool and I will share it with him even though he gets paid. Hey so do I.

      Oh By the way your suggestion on shrimp was great my boy and I loved eating it together. No more boiling for me!

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 21 months ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      The word worship comes from Old English weorthscipe meaning acknowledgment of worth. The word church comes via Old English and medieval Greek from ancient Greek kuniakon meaning the Lord's [house]. One of its meanings is a place for public worship. I attend a church in which each congregation governs itself and decides whether to be lay-led or to call a minister and under what terms. There is no creed. I estimate that less than half of the congregants of the congregation where I am a member are theists. Every Sunday morning dozens of members gather to worship by singing songs with spiritual significance, participating in a candle-lighting ritual, reading readings from various traditions, listening to a sermon, sharing joys and concerns, and donating money to help pay staff salaries and rent. There is much griping -- too much god-talk; too little god-talk; sermons are too touchy-feely; sermons are too intellectual; too much emphasis on social justice instead of spiritual experience; vice versa, and so on. And we keep on gathering and worshiping Sunday after Sunday, year after year, decade after decade. Going to church must be meeting needs.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      There is so much truth in this it is almost overwhelming...like getting slapped in the face by a tidal wave. Did you know me ten years ago, because it sure feels like you're talking to me.....from the Taxi Driver movie....YOU TALKING TO ME?????

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 21 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Jesus didn't come to save perfect people (find me one, can you?) He came to redeem sinners--every one of us. So where is the hypocrisy? I don't pretend for one moment to be blameless because I go to church. The people with whom I worship are not just acquaintances. They and my pastor are a part of my family. We care for and about each other. Of course he is paid--he has a family to provide for. I don't see a conflict of interest there. Like you, he speaks from the heart. He works long hours. And he is not a grand-stander. The focus of our worship is not about him.

      As with all of your other sermons, it just keeps coming back to this one thing--it's all about the love brother.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 21 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Marlene, my wife's maiden name is Hang Nguyen. She was born in the war in Vietnam and grew up under the communist regime. When she questioned authority like that it was exciting. And she came to that because we study and try to practice the Bible teaching in our home. Literally God gave her the gift of discernment right before my very eyes. For a Christian, there is nothing that can replace, study, meditation and prayer over the Word of God. And for me it is sure fun to get together with others that feel the same way.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 21 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you much my friend Venkatachari, for pointing out that repeat. My bad, and I hope I fixed it. I just do not know anyone who does not think for themselves -- I mean that. I know there are some out there, but they must be hiding from me. Or maybe when they are around me they feel they can speak their own mind.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 21 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Clive I have a friend and faithful follower here who thinks the only religion we need is Love and that the only God is Love. I travel to different churches and I can say that I never go back if I don't just right away feel the love. Thanks for being you Clive.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 21 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dana I appreciate your comment. I have a buddy who likes to play "devil's advocate" with me and he proposes taxing churches. I stumped him with the thought "could the government do more good with the money than the churches". Sure there are your millionaire mega church pastors but that is really a rarity. You know I have been to a ton of churches and I have only seen one without a food pantry for the needy. And that was a very needy church.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 21 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hey Tim, thanks a bunch, that makes me feel real good. So if you had it in mind to lift someone up today consider it done.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 21 months ago from Northern California, USA

      Excellent sermon. One of the main reasons I read the bible is because I know there are some people who preach and don't preach the "truth." But, if I don't know what the truth is (the bible) then I can't make that determination on my own. Since I have made it a goal in my life to use the bible as my guidebook for life, then I want to make sure the people who are teaching it to me are teaching it as it is meant to be presented. I like how your wife recognized it wasn't right to put conditions on God's love. When I hear a minister preaching about conditional love, I leave and never go back, because they are teaching it all wrong. You're teaching it right, Eric, and that's why I enjoy and look forward to reading your sermons.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 21 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very thought provoking and meaningful sermon. Do not be afraid of what you believe and do. Do not follow simply because others are in majority. One should think himself and judge things rationally or even emotionally.

      I find the last but one capsule reproduced again. Is it to give more weight?

      It's a beautiful sermon and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 21 months ago from Nibiru

      love has no bounds, no depths, no color or race

      love is something which humbles us, puts us in God's Grace

      Without love, nothing else really matters

      Love not just yourself, but remember to love others

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 21 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      I know many people who do not want to go to church which is fine with me but I hate when they try to tell me I don't need to go to church all the time. I love to hear my pastor preach and I love fellowshipping. To me, there is nothing healthier for believers than to be around other believers who worship. And, I agree on pastors must receive pay because they have to be available for ministry work. It's funny how some people feel ministers should work for free, but would they? At the end of the day, we all have to eat. I wish there were more funds available for more ministry workers to get paid. They're people who would love to go into ministry full time but the funds are not available for them to quit their jobs.

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 21 months ago from Escondido, CA

      Awesome causing thought and pondering which the purpose seems fulfilled least of me with the article intent. Kudos . . . with that I depart for some quiet time of thought. :-)

      P.S. I got your point as the sermon with the little story twice brought life and easily I related to its emphasis with its high point . . .