Saturday, August 30, 2008

Advice Time Again...What Would YOU Do?


OK, occasionally I have asked for your advice on a preaching matter.  Tomorrow I am  preaching on the jealousy of the Jewish leaders towards Paul & Barnabas in Acts 13:42-52.  Preaching on jealousy really is not a hard sermon to do, since there is such  a wealth of material available.

Including non-Christian material. 

I have two poems that I want to use in my sermon.  The problem (?) is that one is by a Hindu teacher and the other is by a Sufi (a Muslim mystic). 

I get lots of good feedback when I sprinkle poetry in my sermons.  I enjoy it and while it might not work in some places, it seems to work here. I don't do it every week or even every month. 

I have always said that if something is true, then it is God's truth.  And, like Paul used the pagan poets of his day, I will use truths from other religions to help clarify the truth of scripture.

I have no real problem beginning with the poem by Sri Chinmoy, a Hindu teacher who died last year.

You are my mind's purity-stealer,
You are my heart's peace-intruder,
You are my life's divinity-invader!

(although the list phrase "divinity-invader" could be mis-interpreted)

My uncomfortableness is that a poem by Hafiz of Shiraz (a Sufi Poet who lived from 1320-1389) sums up my sermon very nicely.


Will Beat You Up2

The problem with it is that it would be the last thing I say.  And I really am uncomfortable with having the last words of a biblical sermon be words of affirmation by a Muslim mystic.  While the content of my sermon is distinctly Christian, what Hafiz says sums up part of what I say about jealousy in the life of the believer,

What would you do?  I could leave it out, but it just seems to fit.  But if I include it, I don't want anyone to think that I affirm what Islam teaches. It is just that non-Christians are able to see portions of God's truth.  And this is an example of it. I have thought about simply saying, "As one ancient poet has said...."  But that seems to be the chicken's way out (or re: a previous post...the Cowardly Lion's way out). 

So, tell me what you would do. I probably won't get all the answers by tomorrow morning, but even if it is after that, let me will inform me (and you, my readers, for the next time).  

And I will let you know what I did!!  (And how it went).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sorry I have blog under a other article.

Im from Germany -> bavaria.

Again thanks for this nice article.


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