(This blog is reposted in its entirety from Andrew Marin’s blog “Love Is An Orientation” (he is the author of the book with the same title). I thought it was both interesting enough and thought-provoking enough to repost here. I am especially struck by how naive some people are about the use of language and what it communicates to people… especially single people in the church. I would love to hear your thoughts… bd)
BY ANDREW MARIN (link)
Pastors need to stop using sermon illustrations solely focused on their family. This is not prompted just because of GLBT people, but also folks who are single (who many times are also looked at as second class citizens in the church), as well as those who don’t have a family, or weren’t raised in a happy-go-lucky beautiful family life.
Come up with something creative that is relevant to humanity—not just those in your church who are married and have kids. Here is a great example that I wrote about in my book:
Ron and I have known each other for a few years, and I have come to learn that he is probably the most well thought out person I have ever met. Ron will not say one word until he specifically thinks about exactly what will come out of his mouth, and the ramifications his words will cause as there are many people who spout off knee-jerk reactions to almost anything (I’m really trying to work on not being one of those knee-jerk people).
Ron attends a well-known evangelical church and he began to tell me about a recent service. A video was played that had been recorded by a man a few months before he died. The man said that the five best days of his life were the day he met his wife, the day they got married and the day each of his three children were born. After the service Ron went up to the pastor with tears in his eyes and said, “If I continue to live the way that you’re suggesting that I live [celibate], then I’ll never experience any of the five best days that man experienced before his death.”
The pastor paused as he looked at Ron in the eyes and said, “I don’t know what to tell you.”
And then the pastor just walked away. Ron quickly went back to his car and cried. He called me and told me what happened. I wish I had something profound to say in that moment. But I didn’t. I sat there crying with him—that was all I could muster. I wish many pastors would do the same.
Sermon illustrations make a huge difference. Please don’t ever take them for granted. Do your homework for the Kingdom in relation to humanity, not just what happened with your wife or kids two days ago.