Monday, February 26, 2007

Sex still sells...

If it didn't, the proliferation of escapades wouldn't be in the news and on the commercials every moment. One particular headline caught my eye today. The headline was "Sexually Suggestive Sermons From Michigan Pastor Leave Some Hot and Bothered." The part that piqued my interest was the story was on a Lutheran Pastor. Thinking it was a crazy ELCA thing, I clicked on the link. Nope- it is a LC-MS Pastor! I had to investigate further. The hubub is about the sermon topics the pastor has chosen.

The pastor has a whole series of sex-related topics for Lent. While there is something to be said for educating the congregation on proper sexuality, I don't think it has to do with Lent. This is a time to recall the direct path to the Cross and our sins, not on "Puresex." (BTW if you want to see the intro movie that has caused the commotion (it is not explicit for those who are wondering), click here.) The sermon topics should, at the most, be studies in Scripture. I have some familiarity with the Pastor, and he tends to the liberal side and most likely views the entire service as something secondary and adjustable.

To his credit, their "About Epic" part of the webpage (Epic is the name of the church) is pretty much on the theological mark. My concern is where they say "
Through music, video, performing arts, and the spoken word – our desire is to create an engaging community where you can discover both who God is and how you can connect your story to the epic story of Jesus. We’ve made every effort to eliminate all of the nonessentials that take away from God. No getting dressed up because God cares about our hearts, not our appearance. No long boring sermons filled with terminology you don’t understand, just messages that relate to real issues in your life!" What have they thrown out? Apprently the historical Liturgy has taken a blow. They claim to include the "spoken word," but I would hazard a guess that "the spoken word" might be open to (significant) interpretation.

Now I have nothing wrong with exploring the use of more "modern" technology in the Church. It just shouldn't be done in the Service! The Liturgy IS the WORD, and to that end is not a "nonessential." Even if this Pastor is 110% always on Scriptural cue and Doctrinally sound, churches that suffer the loss of their Doctrine in the Service usually fall away/fail within a generation or so. I hope this isn't the case, but history is a harsh teacher. Proper Theology is not a cure for improper practice. See Luther in the Small Catechism on Prayer for an example.
The true comfort of the Service is not in fun songs, but the sureness of the Forgiveness, the WORD, and the Sacraments. Anything different (song, epics, and/or charisma) only dilute and dispel the good things God gives.