It is a Saturday evening and my family have not yet had supper. I was upstairs surfing the web on my laptop, my spouse and one child were downstairs watching Green Lantern and the fourth of the household is out. Sorry…I left out the dog who is sitting on the back of the couch watching the world go by. When the movie came to an end we decided we should get supper. On went the oven and in went a frozen tortierre (a kind of French Canadian meat pie). I set the timer and now have just about 30 minutes to wait for supper.
This kind of quick cook meal is, unfortunately, all too common in our household! I don’t even think it is because we are so busy, I was just killing time with the surfing, I could have chosen to put together a homemade and balanced meal. I didn’t!
I wonder if anyone has done studies to see if people of my vintage (the end of the baby boom) are more or less likely to make meals like our parents did? OK, like our mothers did! Don’t get me wrong, I love food! I’m just not very keen to go to the thought, planning, and execution involved in meals like Mum makes. We will have some raw veggies with the pie and perhaps end up with a yogurt or fruit .
The other thing I wonder, or have a sneaking suspicion about, is whether that desired convenience, and the tidiness of no mess from preparation is what my generation wants from everything in our lives. Even more-so, what have we set our kids up to expect? We want to believe in something, but it has to be tied up in a neat little package which doesn’t leave us with any issues or controversies. I have some acquaintances who have chosen atheism for their parcel, with its nice neat there is no God answer to all questions.
I have chosen Christianity despite its confusing divisions of denominations, worship styles, and ways of interpreting the Bible. Our nice neat package? Um…a rather messy crucifixion and a controversial rising from the dead. We are very good at making a mess of things, but through Christ’s death and resurrection our package has been prepared!
I expect most of us are familiar with the expression, “The medium is the message” coined by Marshall McLuhan. The phrase is as old as I am, well ten months older. At the time it was spoken in reference to the quickly changing face of media and our tendency to focus on the obvious effects and not really look for a deeper level. I don’t pretend to really understand McLuhan’s message, but I think that it is important to look at our messages, especially as they are becoming more and more public through blogs, Twitter, Facebook etc.
When I prepare a message for any of my usual churches I do so knowing that, for the most part, I will be preaching to a Christian audience with a fairly similar frame of reference to mine. When I write something for my blog it is different, I have no way of knowing who may read my post so things I wouldn’t normally explain get explanation. Things that are totally open to the world on the internet need a different filter than comments to my friends and colleagues over lunch. Awareness of audience is even one of the sections on rubrics for evaluating student writing.
I am working on a service I will be leading at my sister’s church in the Montreal area. I have led worship at all four of the Presbyterian churches in my area, but this will be my first time preaching out of the province. I am somewhat familiar with the church as I have worshipped there and sung in the choir on occasion, but I don’t really know it. I do know that there are several retired ministers and theology professors who attend her church. While I am used to having one or two retired ministers in the congregation for my services at home, they are people with whom I am very familiar and comfortable. This is not the case for my sister’s church, and who knows what other areas of speciality I may trip upon in my message?
One service I did on Aboriginal Sunday a while back went well. At the end I greeted people at the back as usual. One woman hung back for a bit and when she came up to me said she was debating whether or not to tell me what she really thought. I asked her to go ahead. She was not pleased with my message and gave me various reasons mostly related to her perceptions of “special treatment” for First Nations people in our area. While she had, in part, missed the actual point of the sermon, she needed to talk about the issues it raised for her and I hope that helped her in some way.
So, would I write a different message if I was speaking to the un-churched, the working class, a room full of professors, or atheists? In the end, all I can do is what I usually do. I will study the texts carefully, review what other’s have said on the topic, do some fact checking, and then write what seems to flow. Hopefully what I say will give people something new to think about, something to inspire them, or something about which to debate.
Posted in Bible Study, Reflections
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