Last week there was a flurry of interest in sermons preached in Houston, Texas.
As you likely read in various news reports, the mayor and city attorney were unhappy with public opposition to Houston’s recent “bathroom bill” which allows people to enter any public bathroom associated with their self-identified gender. So if a man feels he is a woman, he can saunter into any ladies room in the city. Wow, who could possibly think anything could go wrong with that?
Since pastors were among the most vociferous opponents of the bill, the mayor apparently decided to put them on the spot. So five pastors who were vocal opponents of the bill received subpoenas demanding copies of their speeches and sermons which addressed the bathroom bill, homosexuality, and the mayor.
By the end of the week – facing withering denunciation from across the political spectrum – the mayor was reconsidering the subpoenas. But anyone who thinks this is the last time an American political official tries to pressure preachers in regards to their sermons hasn’t been watching the growing trend toward restrictions on religious liberty in order to appease political correctness.
At first thought I was considering some possible responses pastors could send to the mayor, including:
- Notes? I don’t use no stinking notes!
- Sorry, but I think the dog ate my sermon.
- I already sent my sermon file to Lois Lerner. I’m sure she saved it.
But now I’m reconsidering, and I think it would be best to send the sermons to the mayor. In fact, I think I’d send all my sermons to the mayor – as many as I have available. I suspect digging through a few hundred sermon manuscripts would convince any public official that a subpoena might be a bit counterproductive.
And it would do this mayor a lot of good to read some strong gospel sermons.
Michael Duduit is founding Dean of the College of Christian Studies and the Clamp Divinity School at Anderson University. He also serves as Professor of Christian Ministry. He is the founder and still serves as Executive Editor of Preaching magazine, one of the nation’s premier publications for pastors. His email newsletter, Preaching Now, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences. He is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching, Joy in Ministry: Messages from Second Corinthians, Preaching with Power: Dynamic Insights from Twenty Top Communicators and Communicate With Power.