Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Kill Your Darlings" - A Sermon Blooper

Some sermon bloopers are pretty the time, years ago, when I was preaching in Spanish and said that Jesus forgives us from all our sins.  The word for "sins" is "pecados," but I accidentally replaced this word for the similar sounding "pescados."  This way the sentence took on an entirely different meaning:  "Jesus forgives us for all our fish."

Today's sermon (as far as I know) was blooper-free in the 11:00 service, but in the 8:30 service I made a doozie. 

I was preaching a sermon entitled "Be a Fish," about freeing yourself of idolatry, and walking in the spirit.  The messsage was based on Luke 18:18-30 and Galatians 5:16-25.  That sermon will probably become a "Spirit and Truth" article, and you'll be able to read it here later.  When I preach, I use PowerPoint, so there are always changing images, outlines, etc. behind me.  One particular point of my sermon on idolatry was entitled Our "Good" Idols.  I had pictures of several good things that we can often get sidetracked by, placing good things ahead of God's best plans for our lives.  There were four pictures: one that represented health, another that represented family, another that represented patriotism, and another that represented charity.  The point was that we can even let these good things become idols if we get our priorities wrong.

As I said, the sermon went well at 11:00, because I remembered to talk about a writer's phrase, "Kill your darlings."  Click this link to read an entire article I wrote about killing your darlings, back in March.   In a nutshell, killing your darlings means getting rid of those things that really aren't essential to your story.  I used the phrase to talk about ridding ourselves of those extraneous activities, loyalties, and priorities that create idols in our lives.  On the PowerPoint screen, right in the middle of the four pictures of health, family, patriotism, and charity, were the words "Kill Your Darlings!"

This worked well at 11:00, when I actually remembered to talk about the phrase.  But at 8:30, after I talked about those four areas where we can get our priorities off, I forgot to comment on the italicized "Kill Your Darlings!" that popped up in the middle of a picture of a family, the American flag and Statue of Liberty, an apple, and someone giving to the Salvation Army.

What in the world could that preacher mean by putting "Kill Your Darlings!" on his PowerPoint during a sermon, and then not even commenting on it? 

Most of the time, PowerPoint with the sermon is a good thing.  This time, it worked against me. 

I've never had to print a retraction, either for my writing or for a sermon.  This isn't exactly a retraction--but it's not far off the mark.  Let's just call it an acknowledgment of a blooper, and an explanation of what was meant for those who were utterly confused in the 8:30 service.

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