How the church could talk about every hot button issue of all time

In case you have not read the last post, I would encourage you to do so not only to see where this post is coming from but also to see a bit of the irony laced within it.

When preachers preach sermons designed to fill a need, like the best ways to "invite people to church" or "have a conversation with an atheist", preachers are ultimately doing the congregation a disservice.

What these sermons are really doing is providing fish for people to eat, which will fill them up and make us feel good for a time, but when we grow hungry again we come back to the source (the preacher) for more food. You may have heard it said, "Sunday is where I get fed" or "Worship is where I am filled up." The concern is that these words are really too true.

Are we setting up sermons to be places where people come to be fed? Is the sermon nothing more than a dish that is prepared by the preacher only to be served up on Sunday morning?

Rather than preaching sermons that fill a need, preachers need to preach so that people walk away with a fishing pole and bait, not just another fish for the day. 

Take for instance the idea that preachers preach about the homosexuality issue. This is a specific issue, so specific in fact that once the church decides on what the "answer" is to the debate, the answer they come up with will not help in any other conversation.

The church may preach they are against homosexuality for a set of reasons - they understand scripture in this way or "God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" sort of argument. The church then can check that issue off the board as now they have the answer to the homosexual conversation.

But then there is a new conversation - what about transgender people or people who are born one sex physically but are another sex mentally? The "answers" from the homosexual conversation are not helpful in this new issue/conversation and the church must start a new conversation. Thus the problem with application preaching.

However, if the church were to preach their understanding of, say Anthropology, then the answers that come into focus can be applicable to other questions.

If the church understood that in Christianity, all people are created in the image of God and all people matter to God and that God called all creation very good. If we focus on how Christianity and Anthropology intersect, then we not only come up with answers to the homosexual conversation but also to the transgender conversation.

Anthropology is not something that is easily "applied" into our lives through three points and a poem. When we preach to these larger ideas then we give the congregation a bit of credit for actually having the brain to think through their own answers to specific issues. When we preach to the larger ideas we are teaching people how to fish.