I didn’t think my sermon last Sunday was really that controversial (for once). So imagine my surprise when David, one of the elders of our church pulls me aside in the middle of the week to ask me, “Just what were your intentions with that Sermon?” It sounded like an innocent enough question, so I answered.
In the course of our conversation, he pointed out to me that two people had been so offended by my sermon that they got up and walked out. I knew (and saw) one of them — but he’s done that before, so I wasn’t too surprised. And then David went on to tell me that if it had been the first sermon he’d ever heard at our church, he wouldn’t have come back. Gee, thanks.
Actually, I really have a lot of respect for David — because he did something that to date, no one else at my church has done when they have a problem with something I’ve said: He confronted me face to face about it. I’d take that any day over the rumor mill.
One irony is that the sermon probably wasn’t nearly as controversial as it would have been if I’d gone with my original impulse — talking about the lack of clean water in developing countries in contrast to our own western rejection of tap water as “inferior” to pricey bottled water. Oh well. If I follow the Revised Common Lectionary, this passage will come up again in another three years.