Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sermony (3)

I wonder if there are synonyms for this word 'sermony'. Probably, 'churchy' has something of the same feel, expressing how something is exactly what you expect in church. A kind of 'insider' description of something that fits appropriately into the religious ethos of churches. Naturally this ethos will vary from high church with formal historic liturgies through to low church with its ultra informal liturgies. (Yes, they also have liturgies - the 'usual' way in which congregational worship is planned to involve the work of the people).

As an itinerant preacher I have sometimes witnessed what happens between the congregation's singing before the sermon and the beginning of the sermon. Actually, and I do not exaggerate (much) I have seen the body language of a whole people transition from active participation into a passive numbing mode as they slump into bored expressions that reveal just how little they expect to happen in a sermon. Sadly, such behavior reflects their experience that sermons are just a part of the churchy thing we do (like taking an offering), and people can only submit. Probably, they have only ever heard sermony sermons. Predictable stuff about God.

Perhaps there are other words too that convey this concern (how widespread is it I wonder?) that sermons are just part of the fittings and fixtures! I know I need to talk about non-sermony sermons shortly, but I wonder if you agree there is a problem here.

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