In case you were wondering, here are eight sure-fire pits stops on the homiletic journey that will take you straight to Crazytown.
Read text. Pray over text. Faithfully exegete text. Read the thoughts of other people who have faithfully exegeted the text.
Write a perfectly good sermon.
Think heavy thoughts about the anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech, and about how far we still are from true racial equality and justice for all. Realize that this week’s lectionary texts, which teach us to take the lower place, do not work in situations of institutional injustice, like when white men demand that you give up your seat to them and go sit at the back of the bus.
Think more heavy thoughts about the escalating violence in Syria. Try not to cry while looking at the footage from the chemical attacks. Fail at not crying.
Totally rewrite sermon to account for current events.
Read email from the pastor asking about how to incorporate current events into this week’s sermon, given that people walked out in the middle of his/her sermon last week when s/he mentioned infringement of voter rights.
Envision people walking out of church when you mention that American involvement in Syrian conflict may run contrary to Christ’s teaching to “Put away your sword.” Remember footage of Syrian attacks. Feel conflicted. Cry some more.
Step Eight: (Last opportunity to get off before arriving at Crazytown)
Look at two versions of your sermon. Pray for the discernment of the Spirit. Feel called to a prophetic preaching of peace and justice. Imagine crying at next internship committee meeting when congregants helpfully critique the way in which you’ve managed to drive away several members with that last sermon. Pray more. Wonder if Spirit has gone for coffee.
You have reached your destination of Crazytown.