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Skrevet af Jørn Nielsen   
Mandag, 23. april 2012 16:34

“And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”  (The apostle Paul).

At our granddaughter´s 6 years birthday party, a joyous garden party for sure, I also met a very likable pastor.  I told him how his 8 years old daughter in the party had impressed me as being different from the rest of the party – modest, calm, self-controlled, with a contagious Mona Lisa smile, and on top of that pretty, pure and innocent, evidently coming from a good home.  I told him that.

So I think we both found it easy to converse.  It was Saturday, and he told me that he wasn´t really sure what he was going to say next  morning in his sermon.  I thought, “What a humble pastor”, and encouraged him to follow Spurgeon´s advice in his immortal book “Lectures to My Students” when dealing with the choice of a sermon text.   His advice was  “Cry for it!”

We all went to his church.  I was anxious to listen to his message less than 20 hours after our talk in the garden.  I noted, however, that it was all planned down to the slightest detail.  A brochure was handed out with his printed outline.  On a big screen was presented various cheerful “appetizers” that illustrated the points he was going to make in his sermon.  Furthermore a platform leader eloquently announced what kind of sermon we would soon be listening to, and then the well prepared pastor was “on”.

So he wasn´t that helpless.  It was well staged.  Various  jokes were not forgotten either.  And as he went along, the screen showed many Bible references saving us from the trouble of looking up in our own Bibles.  He seemed to have a good time, and so had no doubt the congregation.   And of course “worship” performance with a professional drummer (placed in a special glass box) before and after the sermon wasn´t missing either.  Despite all the professionalism I felt a strange, sad emptiness.

I shook hands with many.  “Nice to meet you”, was the kind refrain over and over again.  I shared with some what I´m doing and my yearning for spreading the gospel outside the church walls.  O,  how great!   How real it all was, I don´t really know.  I thought of the “helpless” pastor.  Did he touch lives?  How much time is he going to spend in his study this week preparing for next Sunday´s message?  It would probably do him and a lot of stagey pastors good if they spent less time in the study and more time under the big blue dome talking to the people.  It´s humbling all right, but it would be a fine, complementary education to many pastors.

Suffice it to say that I´m not picking at the American church life in particular.  It applies to our culture in Scandinavia as well.

Clovis, CA, April 23, 2012 – jn

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