2015: Advent Religion: That Reminds Me Of Jesus

by on December 13, 2015

There is a particular style of preaching – this one isn’t confined to evangelicals, I’ve definitely seen it done by Anglicans – which involves taking anything you can think of and somehow making it about God. You can make the analogy as strained as you like; the important message is that everything is supposed to be about God, and if your listeneres do not immediately think of the Crucifixion when they see untied shoelaces, they are insufficiently holy.

There’s a classic example in the parish newsletter this weekend – Hooray, the ebola outbreak has been contained, aren’t ebola nurses JUST LIKE Jesus coming among the people infected with sin? Only he didn’t have an isolation suit and we killed him.

But I’ve seen it done with all manner of things. Christmas presents are a favourite. You see, on Christmas morning, you have a church service, nothing unusual about that, and you do a little show-and-tell with the kids and their presents, again, perfectly normal, but you’ve got to make it about God because everything has to be about God. So you ask the kid about their presents and they say, I got this princess outfit! And then you have to figure out in three sentences or less a way to make the princess outfit be about God which is, let’s be honest, likely to be “ahh, that is like how God is a King and he is our Father” because that’s nice and straightforward.

The one where the kid had a Transformer, and that reminded the speaker of the Devil and how he takes on disguises to try and fool us was… less successful as a Christmas morning lesson.

You can even do this with a bible verse. Something seems tricky, or confusing, or just not very relevant to the sermon you were hoping to give? That’s just fine. Use the verse as a springboard. Write a strained connecting paragraph or two about how this reminds you of this and makes you think of that, and now you’re free to talk about your hobby horse.

What you say barely matters. That’s the real advantage of this kind of moralising. It doesn’t matter whether there’s any believable link between the object and the lesson. All that counts is whether you found some appropriately pious moralising to do. How you get there isn’t the point.

Leave a Reply