Today Yesterday

Things went well today yesterday, I think, other than a few mishaps and distractions.

I was inspired by the Wendell Berry-inspired workshop at last week’s conference to speak about the implications for creation care that arise out of scripture.  The Bible does not have a green agenda; if it has any agenda, it’s a redemptive one, and there are implications for our view of creation in that.  My main points:

1.  Genesis 1: God looked at everything he created and saw that it was “very good”.  He never took that back.  The natural world isn’t just incidental to our creation, but is good in and of itself.

At the fall human relationship with the rest of creation was broken, which may well be why we find ourselves where we are environmentally.

2.  The created world is in some sense the voice of God (see Romans 1:18-20–”general revelation”).  I wondered if our current abusive approach to nature isn’t a new way of “suppressing the truth” about God.

3.  The redemptive work of the cross of Christ is for all of creation (Colossians 1:19-20; Ephesians 1:10; Romans 8:19-23)–if we expect to come out of the future resurrection with transformed bodies and yet still be ourselves, it’s reasonable, I think, to expect the same for creation.

It didn’t take long to realize that this was a HUGE subject and a couple of hours of preparation wasn’t giving it nearly enough and it was probably too much to cram into one sermon (especially when I had less time than usual).  It deserves a series, but that’s difficult to do when I only speak twice a month and in the very near future I will start to be bumped from the schedule for candidating pastors.

Oh well.  Live and learn.

I was thinking this week and again after this sermon about what pastors do if they realize they have spoken in error in a sermon.  I made a modern-day analogy a couple of weeks ago when speaking on 1 Corinthians 8 (the “strong”, the “weak” and meat sacrificed to idols) and it occurred to me this week that perhaps my analogous example was a poor one (I’ve decided it wasn’t).  After Sunday’s service I was talking to Phil and realized that perhaps I had made some lazy word choices that might have negative implications (it didn’t help that I was trimming the sermon as I spoke).

Now both of those instances are minor.  But what about a more serious error?  Do you just ignore it?  Bring it up next Sunday?  Issue a retraction?  Fix the error with the following sermons?  An interesting question.  (It is for me, anyway.)  Of course, I’m learning that not everything can be said in one sermon (or even a couple of sermons), so perhaps it’s possible to develop a progression of thought that deals with whatever has gone before.

(Have I ever posted about a sermon before?  I’ve been reluctant to do so.  Still am.  But I felt like posting something.)

6 thoughts on “Today Yesterday

  1. Toni

    Just another thought about 1). Yes, the relationship with creation was broken, but the creation has also been progressively changed, first to not naturally providing for man, then subsequently for the creation to feed off itself in destructive ways.

    I’d therefore be a little less inclined to see the creation as good *now*, as it has declined and become increasingly broken as part of its fallenness. You do hint at this, but appear to be offering 2 opinions that have not been reconciled: I appreciate this may have been different in your sermon.

    As for error correction, retract publicly if it’s a major error, correct later if it’s small and you feel the need. Always offer to discuss what you’ve said with people afterward.

    There’s a guy in Bicester who I’ve heard preach a few times. Mostly he’s sound, but will sometimes bung in the odd real clanger apparently to prove his point. The point may be valid, but the factoid is false. It is annoying, because he doesn’t have to do it, and I wonder whether he’s been really badly taught or just makes stuff up to make himself look more knowledgeable (I suspect it’s this last, as he’s not too secure). I can remember a specific example quoting Greek.

    You can be the judge – you’re discerning enough.

  2. Marc Post author

    Interesting point, Toni. As I say, this was a huge topic for one sermon, so I didn’t touch on everything. I suppose the fact that creation needs to be redeemed says something. I think I was thinking more along the lines of creation still being good as a creation by God–it may not be good in a “moral” sense, but perhaps qualitatively as a creation it is?

    Bruxy Cavey at The Meeting House in Oakville, Ontario has a Q&A time after his services, which I always thought was a really good idea. It would take a lot of confidence to do that, I think.

  3. Linea

    In a Q & A I would hope it is always acceptable to admit that one does not know but will try and find out.

    And I wonder how much of what we say is in actual fact erroneous even when we think we are very knowledgeable.

    As to the statement by God that Creation was “very good,” does this not speak to the way God saw his creation, the way he loved what he had made, as he loved the way he created us too.
    The fact that we have not been good stewards, that we have caused serious harm to the created world, would not change the fact that God loved what he made. He must be saddened and angry sometimes at how we mistreat what he made but that too would be an expression of his great love for this good thing that he created.

  4. Eric Lanoie

    Marc,

    I would think that the translation from the Hebrew(Aramaic maybe) into english/french/latin/greek is certainly the source of some of the w. worlds approach to God’s creation. Certainly the KJ version puts man in a quasi ownership position.

  5. Phil L

    If I remember correctly, our discussion after the service centred on the word “harvest”. Some environmentalists seem to see that word as a pejorative, especially WRT forests (strangely enough they have less problem with agricultural harvests). On the other hand I have no issue with harvesting trees, moose, fur-bearing animals etc., as long as it is done sustainably, with regard for the whole ecosystem. I got the impression from out talk that we are on the same page.
    I have read some of Wendell Berry’s essays, and generally agree with his views on creation care.

  6. Andrew

    I’ve heard some doozies from the pulpit, and have never heard someone come back the next week and admit a blunder, so it would be refreshing for a pastor to admit to having made a mistake.

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