Skeptics and Hope

A month or two ago, a friend of mine asked his Facebook friends “Do you believe in God? Why or why not?”  Usually reluctant to (a) share personal things and (b) participate in the online debate / flamewar of the week, I refrained from answering.  I did follow the discussion thread as it grew, and the burden of answering the question continued to roll around in my head.

A couple of times a year, I get to dust off my professional ministry hat and put it on for a bit.  Aside from the occasional wedding, I sometimes have the opportunity to fill the pulpit for our pastor while he is on vacation.  This often happens after Christmas, as he likes to take some time off following the very busy Advent and holiday season.  I decided to use this latest opportunity as a chance to explore what I was feeling about this whole God-Facebook debate.

The attached file is the result, a sermon entitled “Skeptics and Hope.”  It’s not the greatest title, but it works.  It’s also not my best sermon, but again, it works.  (Indeed, there is a sermon I preached years ago that has become known as “The Hooters Sermon.”  I don’t know what I got right with that one, but I still have people mention it to me.)

Referenced within the sermon are a number of external sources:

Enjoy.

“Skeptics and Hope,” December 27, 2009

3 thoughts on “Skeptics and Hope

  1. Laura Johnson

    Kris recommended I take a listen. I’m glad I did — I thought your sermon was excellent. It resonated with my experiences as a Christian and a geek. I think I used to try to keep my faith incognito, or at least downplayed it, because many of my friends and relatives are at best skeptical and at worst hostile to religion. (In some respects, I really can’t blame them. Some of my fellow Christians can drive me up the wall.) As you described, I shy away from debates with skeptics (even the ones I love) because by nature I’m too impatient to persevere in an argument I suspect I cannot win. Evangelism is thus not one of my gifts, although I do feel a responsibility to share the Gospel.

    On the other hand, I’m very personally committed to my faith journey, I go to worship about 90 percent of the Sundays in a year, I see God’s work and experience His presence in my everyday life, and I’m super-involved in serving in my church — a leaky, creaky, old boat if ever there was one! I told Kris once that no one would ever claim to dislike “organized religion” if they truly understood how profoundly disorganized it all is. I guess I cling to the hope that my faith — and how it has saved and changed my life — is evident in the choices I make, the way I treat others, how I spend my time, and the values I’m trying to teach my son. I’m getting a little more comfortable actually TALKING about what I believe, but mostly I think I’m focused on my struggle to LIVE it.

    Having said all that, boy I’d love to hear that Hooters sermon.

  2. jay Post author

    Wow – I’m just impressed that anyone downloaded it. Thanks for the kind words. I’m with you about evangelism. I think it’s best done through relationships and lifestyle (always hoping that no one looks too closely at our all too human failings). Arguing has never really paid off in any area.

    Sadly, the audio of the Hooter’s Sermon doesn’t exist. It was formally titled “The Irrelevant Flock,” which is a much better title than “Skeptics and Hope.” I still have the outline that I used (as I’ve gotten older, I’ve moved away from word for word manuscripts), but I really don’t see anything special in those notes. It must have been some divine intervention when it came to the actual delivery. Maybe the outline will make a decent seed that may grow into an essay one day.

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