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How To Write A Horribly Bad Sermon

December 22, 2009

Do you want to write a really, really bad sermon? Or maybe even a bunch of bad sermons? Do you want to write so many bad sermons that you could be officially entered into the Worst Preacher Ever Championships 2010? Well, in addition to training by watching past champions Benny Hinn and Steven Anderson you could always follow the example of this guy.

Meet the Reverend Tim Jones. His advice to the poor this year? Shoplift, because it’s better than robbery and prostitution… yeah, that OR, you could encourage those with more to help those with less you know: one or the other.

Poor people who are desperate for cash have been advised to go forth and shoplift from major stores – by an Anglican priest.

The Rev Tim Jones said in his Sunday sermon that stealing from successful shops was preferable to burglary, robbery or prostitution.

He told parishioners it would not break the eighth commandment ‘thou shalt not steal’ because it ‘is permissible for those who are in desperate situations to take food that they might not starve’.

But his advice was roundly condemned by police and the local Tory MP. Father Jones, 42, was discussing Mary and the birth of Jesus when he went on to the subject of how poor and vulnerable people cope in the run-up to Christmas.

‘My advice, as a Christian priest, is to shoplift,’ he told his stunned congregation at St Lawrence and St Hilda in York.

‘I do not offer such advice because I think that stealing is a good thing, or because I think it is harmless, for it is neither.

‘I would ask that they do not steal from small family businesses, but from large national businesses, knowing that the costs are ultimately passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher prices.

‘I would ask them not to take any more than they need. I offer the advice with a heavy heart. Let my words not be misrepresented as a simplistic call for people to shoplift.

There is so many things wrong with that advice it’s hard to know where to begin; the stratification of sin, or the encouragement to commit only minor civil offenses. The responsibility of the good exegete, and pastor is to interpret the Bible in the context of the whole, so to suggest that shoplifting would not break the eighth commandment ‘thou shalt not steal’ because it ‘is permissible for those who are in desperate situations to take food that they might not starve’ is so narrowly focused I can only assume that large pieces of the Rev’s Bible have been torn out, he missed the majority of his homily classes in seminary, and that copious amounts of alcohol fueled the message construction.

The moral of the story: if you write your sermons while intoxicated always make sure to review your notes in a state of sobriety before taking the stage. Some ideas that seem brilliant and cogent at one in the morning while two sheets to the wind will be quickly edited once you return to your right mind.

Or you could write your sermon while horribly drunk, never review your notes, take the stage unaware of what you wrote, and read your script verbatim. Probably, a pretty good formula for a bad sermon.

And if there is anyone out there that says, “Hey, wait a minute Scott, drunkenness is frowned on in the Bible, and alcohol can be a destructive force in people’s lives if abused. You shouldn’t advise people to drink so much.” Well, I reply using the Tim Jones method of exegeting, “Jesus made wine, so we can drink as much as we want because it’s not as bad as doing drugs, and people need a little relief from their hard lives. Amen.”

8 Comments leave one →
  1. December 22, 2009 10:21 am

    “Stealing from successful shops was preferable to burglary, robbery or prostitution.”

    Sorry, I just need some clarification… Isn’t stealing a form of robbery? Perhaps the original language makes some distinction. However, if you’re as Biblically literate as Rev. Jones appears to be, I’d be willing to bet you didn’t pass to many of your ancient language classes.

  2. Mike McCord permalink
    January 19, 2010 8:31 pm

    I know Tim Jones. I have listened to many of his sermons while he was in the United States. Tim makes you think about what he is saying. From what I am hearing, not many people are successful at reading through his controversial sermon. Its a notion of what might save some lives. The lesser of two evils. If you are worried about a little petty theft with shop lifting, how about going after the other commandments being broken on a daily basis? A little affair here, a little using of the Lord’s name in vain there. How about a little I hate my mother and father. One could throw stones at commandment breakers all day, everyday. But Tim Jones decides its best to save them with a thought, nay a wish that we might look the other way as someone takes what they need in desperate times. But, that’s not what you see. I think maybe you should look inward, Agathos, before stones start being thrown your way.

  3. Jake permalink
    January 20, 2010 6:56 am

    I’ve been throwing stones at him for years…

    • January 20, 2010 8:03 am

      That’s cause you incorporate “a little petty theft” into all your song writing.

      I wonder what Tim and Mike suggest to the man who can’t get a wife? A little petty raping perhaps? It’s not as bad as the serial rapist.

      Trust yourself not God. Great message. Of course when you’re God’s great man of faith and power (like me) you make manna from heaven appear whenever you’re hungry.

  4. January 22, 2010 10:33 pm

    To Davo ( first comment ) – robbery is a form of stealing that involves violence, or the threat of violence.

    This part needs a bit more subtlety:

    The responsibility of the good exegete, and pastor is to interpret the Bible in the context of the whole, so to suggest that shoplifting would not break the eighth commandment ‘thou shalt not steal’ because it ‘is permissible for those who are in desperate situations to take food that they might not starve’ is so narrowly focused I can only assume that large pieces of the Rev’s Bible have been torn out, he missed the majority of his homily classes in seminary, and that copious amounts of alcohol fueled the message construction.

    In the Old Testament, early on, it’s laid out that a poor person can walk through a rich man’s fields and steal as much food as he can carry without a basket. I think it’s more parsimonious to think the priest was familiar with that passage, than that he was drunk.

    “You can steal X in situation Y” might seem to contradict “Don’t steal.” That’s why they say “even the devil can quote scripture.” The problem here isn’t with the priest, it’s with his book. I mean, people used the same book to justify slavery. If you actually read the thing, it’s plain to see why.

Trackbacks

  1. In favour of a little economic redistribution, or, you’re wrong, Jim « Stalin's Moustache
  2. Gij zult alleen stelen als u het nodig hebt. « Miykayah
  3. When Stealing is Not a Sin « Messianics For Torah

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