One of my good friends, Jerrod Tune, is a local Baptist minister who is a decent writer. I thought I would post something here from time to time from his Xanga site. There pretty good.
[b]Do We Take The Time For God?[/b]
I heard someone say once that he felt it was sin for a preacher to go past 30 minutes on a sermon. His reasoning was that people can't pay attention for that long. That, in this day and age, people's attention span's are being dramatically reduced by an elevated pace of life. He was saying that no one is going to sit and listen to a 3 hour sermon like they might have done in the days of Wesley and Finney, or even in the days of Peter, who preached well into midnight. All I know is that virtually any sermon I have ever heard that ever held it's weight was no less than 45 minutes long. A great deal of my theology was being formed with the help of teachings of Ian Thomas, who NEVER went for less than 50 minutes, usually for a little over an hour in all of his messages. Me and Deanna once sat down every night and watched a video tape of him, for a good couple of weeks or better, about 14 hours of material there was. And you won't meet anybody with a worse attention span than me.
So, my word to others? We need to stop being so impatient and in such a blasted hurry. Sit down long enough to actually be able to think a thought all the way through. I think probably a lot of people have flawed theology and world views because they throw their beliefs together the same way someone may throw together a ham and cheese sandwich, using ingredients from the store, and never asking where the stuff came from. It would not be normal for one to go to the trouble of making homemade bread to assure freshness, to slaughter a pig to make sure the meat was not tainted, or to milk a cow to make cheese, so they would know exactly where it came from. So many never really work through what they believe, never learn how to think critically, never learn how to meditate on the real realities of life. People are biblically illiterate because they skip through a quick chapter a day (maybe) and abandon the art of scripture memory and inductive bible study. Weve got a ham-and-cheese theology, and sadly, there are so many among us who, if asked to share their deepest thoughts on any one topic of vital importance to life and Christian faith, would have trouble filling one page, front and back. But for crying out loud, if we are going to devote our life to God and prepare for eternity, then why do we spend so precious little time contemplating on it, simply believing what he hear at church because its quicker that way, never studying things out for ourselves? Of course, part of that is because so many were saved in a bells-and-lights emotional experience, and whether they will admit it or not, even as they have grown in faith, they still engage God only in that emotionally-driven setting, and refuse to do anything boring, in order to dig out the deep treasures of God. But that's another topic.
I've been reading a book on church history this past couple of months. It is boring the daylights out of me! But the more I trudge along and begin to gather a bigger picture of it, I am getting more profound sense and understanding of Christian heritage. In the long run, I am more satisfied than had I just read a quick paragraph on church history, or listened to someone give a short, 30-minute oral lecture on the topic. The same goes for any spiritual truth in life. Let's practice diligence and long-suffering in everything we do. Don't get bored so quickly, but begin to practice giving your prolonged attention to things that edify, not just things that gratify. A sin to preach a sermon longer than 30 minutes? What a load! I cant believe I actually considered that. Maybe we ought to consider the possibility that it was even more of a sin that Christians as a body succumbed to this notion that we have to get caught up in the same pace as the world, and refuse to take in anything that would require patience, time, and prolonged attention to detail and study. To know what and why we believe. To show ourselves approved before God.
[url=http://www.xanga.com/item.aspx?user=JerrodTune&tab=weblogs&uid=206921963]Jerrod's Xanga Site[/url]