12 December 2008

Practical Procrastination

Stalking the wild sermon today. Ordinarily I do that on Thursday, but the newsletter deadline was Wednesday. I was in Muskegon on Wednesday for a meeting. Therefore the newsletter had to wait until Thursday.

So I am thinking about my sermon today. I think about it all the time, but today is when I should do something about it.

That means opening a fresh page on which to type. I remind myself of the title, put it at the top. Then I consult the cheat sheets of preachers – anthologies, books of quotations, bartleby.com, the common lectionary.

Between these things I check my email, play some solitaire, take a swig of coffee or diet coke. I see that it is sunny again this morning. Maybe I should chop at the ice still in my driveway. My paper did not come this morning. Lunch is on my mind though it is barely past 11 a.m. I notice that it is cold right now so the heat will be coming on soon.

See a pattern here?

Yes, I realize I am writing this post as well.

Somewhere today or tomorrow, I’ll catch the scent. I’ll lose it too. The first page will be a throwaway. Most weeks I get bogged down in an illustration or dilation or some tempting insight and end up working for an hour on a single paragraph. When that happens I know it is probably best to throw the whole graf away. Most sermons are about 15 pages long, five of them never written down, five written but rejected, five written and used. Come Sunday even these will be pretty lame.

If you think burnt sacrifices are a thing of the past, think again.


Robin Edgar said...

May I suggest that you do a sermon on the um "practical procrastination" of the UUA one of these days Rev. Wooden?

WFW said...

I do not serve a UU church, and they have no interest in hearing about the UUA. Most people in the world do not in fact. But liberal religion, a way of life that liberates, inpsires and transforms individuals and communities? That people everywhere are interested in. That's what I preach, or try to.

Revwilly said...

I try to look for things I have in common with others who I know look at life and faith differently than I. We have a common passion for the power of preaching (I love to watch you preach). We both believe our faith/religion is not just a belief system, but a way of life that liberates. We both seek the transformation of individuals and communities. And I would suspect we both share a frustration that not just a few of the people we serve often see their religion as something to be consumed and the community around them as "not my problem".

WFW said...

Among the many scandals of the modern church is that the clergy of the mainstream denominations are far closer in their theology than their respetive denominations. I cannot say where the blame belongs - with those denominations whose identity rests on divisions as artificial as county lines, or the clergy who are too frightened to cross those lines.

Robin Edgar said...

Thank you for posting my critical comment about UUA institutional stonewalling Rev. Wooden. I can well understand how a non-U*U church would have little or no interest in the "practical procrastination" of specifically UUA institutional stonewalling but I expect that whatever non-U*U church you serve has similar problems with the very practical procrastination that is known as institutional stonewalling. So perhaps you might consider delivering a sermon about their own "practical procrastination" or the problem of institutional stonewalling of religious communities more generally.

Thanks also for quite unintentionally coming up with a wonderful euphemism for institutional stonewalling in any case. You can be sure that I will be putting it to good use in the U*U World. ;-)

I will of course provide credit where credit is due.


Robin Edgar