Preacher Man

Pitocin

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. (2 Timothy 4:2)

Preaching is a weird phenomenon. A guy stands in front of a group and sort of yells at them. Sometimes he actually does yell at them. Most of the time the crowd lets him do it. They have all agreed that it is in their best interest for the guy to yell at them. The yelling man is yelling at them because he has something important to tell them that can’t be communicated without yelling. This kind of yelling is sanctified. These days the guy uses a microphone to make his yelling even louder. It’s possible that the extra volume may make the guy even more sanctified. The crowd, many of them with hearing loss, think that more volume makes the message more powerful. Many groups even record the yelling so they can be yelled at again later in the car or at home. The guy likes to yell and the people like to be yelled at. It makes them all feel like they’ve had a religious experience, which is the point.

In some churches the preacher doesn’t really preach. He chats at the people. Most of the time the chat man wears casual clothes like an open collar shirt and khaki pants. In these churches the congregations are more laid back. They get their religious experience by being comfortable in the presence of God. This is, in fact, their definition of being saved. Salvation is getting comfortable with God. These congregations don’t like yelling at all. They think that yelling churches miss the point entirely. They think that chatting is actually proof that they get God more than the yelling groups. These congregations relate to God. You can’t relate to yelling. Grace leads to the chat not the yell. In fact, the chattier the guy, the more he gets the grace thing. This is probably also why these churches drink coffee during the service. Drinking coffee while you’re singing or listening to the chatter is what relating to God looks like. It’s a nice system and makes them feel religious, which is the point.

In the Bible the word preach means “to proclaim” like a herald. In the old days the herald would shout out whatever news he had mostly because they didn’t have the internet back then. So when the Bible says preach, it is referring to the herald who had to shout out his news due to the lack of internet access. So basically, when the Apostle Paul tells Timothy to preach the Word, he means for Timothy to shout at people about God. If they screw up, Timothy is supposed to shout at them about that. If they need to be encouraged, Paul wants Timothy to shout at them about that too. Shouting at people is Timothy’s job. That’s why Paul expects him to do it. It’s possible that Paul would have thought differently if he had owned a laptop or something, but we’ll never know. However you look at it, it seems that yelling and shouting are in the Bible.

Now, I don’t want to discourage the chatty churches. But maybe they should consider chatting a bit more loudly. They could still keep their open collared shirts and khaki pants and coffee. I don’t see a problem with that, although it’s much harder to yell convincingly without a tie. This has been proven over centuries of church history. The more uptight the yeller is dressed, the more convincing his yelling is. There’s not much you can do to change that. Maybe if the chatters put on a tie they could be more Biblical about their communication strategies. It’s a thought anyway.

Personally, I could go either way. When I’m the speaker, I feel more spiritual when I’m yelling. However, when I’m in the crowd, I hate somebody yelling at us. I would much rather have a chat with less power and more grace. This is mostly because I generally have very little interest in what a speaker is saying unless I’m him, in which case I’m quite interested. I have a sneaking suspicion that most professional preachers and chatters feel the same way. I’m sure Paul and Timothy were bored out of their brains when they had to listen to somebody else yell, even about how much God loved them. That’s one of the main reasons people go into the yelling or chatting ministry in the first place, so they don’t have to listen to somebody else. It’s a nice system if you think about it, and it assures that the church will always have enough yellers and chatters to go around.

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One Response

  1. Fred! Check this out. Funniest thing I have seen in ages.

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