Monday, 22 October 2012

Constructive Comments on a Sermon

It's the thing all preachers dread. You've poured your heart and soul into a sermon. You consulted the best authorities; dredged the Internet for jokes that might be vaguely relevant; sifted through "The Text This Week".

Then afterwards you stand out by the door. And it's not that you are fishing for compliments, or seeking to fill the gap in your neediness. Obviously not - but you'd like some comment - positive or negative - to guide you, or help you. Even a complaint would be nice. And then you hear "Nice sermon, Archdruid". Or some such neutral comment. And you almost think the offer to break your legs would be more useful.

I always divide my responses up into "positive", "negative" and "neutral". Generally speaking, it's the "neutral" I try to avoid. Anything else is a bonus. At least you know someone was awake.

"You have radically changed my life""Nice sermon, Archdruid.""As a representative of the local Lodge, I can assure you that you'll never get your car out of the village un-breathalysed again."
"I shall go from this place knowing that, insignificant as I may feel sometimes, I have a special place in the Creator's heart.""Can't stop for a cup of tea. The second-cousin-in-law is coming round for Sunday brunch.""When you said Psalm 9.... did you really mean Psalm 8?
"It has made me see the story of Cain and Able in a completely different light"."Never could understand vegetarianism.""I've just remembered how much I dislike my brother"
"I was challenged.""I was cold.""I was outraged."
"Good illustration from Assyrian family life.""Good day.""Good grief."
"In a certain way, your exposition of Hebrews reminds me of that of Donald Guthrie.""In a certain light, your profile reminds me of that of Woody Guthrie.""You've as much idea about theology as Danny Guthrie". 
"Revelation is such a difficult book to preach on, don't you think? But you made it come alive.""Red is such a difficult colour to preach in, don't you think? Made you look like a giant tomato.""Revelation is such a difficult book to preach on, don't you think? Don't do it again."
"You'll find your reward in heaven.""You'll find the exit over there.""You'll find a horse's head in your bed tonight."


  1. I always find "nice hymns" depressingly neutral

  2. An outstanding post that will, on further reflection, give my life a dramatic new direction.


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