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July 2nd, 2010
07:59 AM ET

Guest post: The sermon through a child's eyes

Editor's note: Logan Keck is an assistant pastor at Christ the King in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. You can hear long sermons by him and others at www.ctkboston.org or follow him onTwitter.

By Logan Keck, Special to CNN

One of my goals as a pastor is to make sure the people in the pews, no matter what their background, can relate to my sermon. It doesn’t always happen.

Above are the sermons notes taken by one of the kids in our church. The girl who wrote “Why are the sermons so long? Why? Why? Why?...” is only 8 years old, but if you ask the average church-goer what they think of their weekly service, you will probably hear a similar remark.

The truth is, what makes so many Sunday morning messages unbearable often has more to do with relevancy than length.

I am still in my rookie season when it comes to preaching, but I have quickly learned that what keeps a crowd's attention is a pastor who can explain how the Bible, an ancient book written for a Mediterranean world, matters to them in their context.

I am not talking about the corny jokes or funny introductions many preachers use as a lead-in for 30 minutes of platitudes and abstractions, but honest truth from a person who believes what they are saying and has seen how it plays out in everyday life.

For me, that means being honest enough when I preach to share the truth of my shortcomings as a husband, father and pastor and helping people understand how even now we are all greatly in need of God's grace. Of course, it helps when most of the crowd is over 8 years old.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Logan Keck.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Sermon

soundoff (248 Responses)
  1. HeIsGod

    I sure love it when I go to church!!! The Spirit of the Lord is so strong it doesn't even feels that I am there for 2 1/2 hours or more. Children need to be in the Sunday school class. They will get bored with the adults, they don't listen because they don't understand the preaching. Many of them even causes distraction to the parents and others.

    July 7, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
    • David Johnson

      HeIsGod,
      I sure love it when I go to church!!! The Spirit of the Lord is so strong it doesn't even feels that I am there for 2 1/2 hours or more.
      ##########################################################################################################

      Yep, people feel the same way all over the world. They feel their god in their heart and its a wonderful experience.

      But, oh my! All these people are praying to different gods. How can they feel their god in their hearts when my god is the one true god?

      Could it be that the person himself is causing this feeling? Could it be that the god being worshipped is not responsible for these feelings?

      July 8, 2010 at 7:29 am |
  2. Toby

    let's be real

    "Toby, it's okay that you do not understand God, Jesus, Faith and personal growth. Until you do; please don't make suggestions you have no clue about. May God bless you all."

    So because I disbelieve the absurdities that you believe, I somehow "do not understand"? Nonsense-I understood all of these things for over 25 years. I believed that the god of Abraham created all, that his son Jesus was crucified for my "sins." And then I finally snapped out of it. Now, I understand that all of these characters existed only in my imagination.

    July 7, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
    • HeIsGod

      Toby, you understood for over 25 years and snap out of it? It seems more like you backslide and return back to the world. I know that many do it and I don't know what you went through to make a terrible decision, but honestly, if you would have understood, you would still be with the God of Abraham, His son, Jesus Christ who was crucified for your sins.

      July 7, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
    • MikeTheInfidel

      HeIsGod, have you ever READ the Bible? No, really – READ IT. Read the whole thing. Really get to know what it is that Yahweh is supposed to have done. The god of the old testament was a MURDEROUS MONSTER. And you call it perfectly just.

      Where is your moral compass?

      July 9, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
  3. James E

    I think those 8 and under need it the most. If you can communicate to them maybe the older ones will learn something they never knew. I am over 70 and still remember things I was taught as a young sprout. Just an idea.

    July 7, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Well, you are kinda right. You see, no child is born into any faith. Children aren't born a Methodist or a Baptist or a muslim or any other religion. People quickly stick them into bible schools, Sunday schools, other religious training schools in an effort to make babies like them. If you are a Mormon, you probably want a litte Mormon.

      Consider: If there was only one god and he is the Christian god, why wouldn't the kids be born predisposed to the Christian faith? Why do tribes, in rain forests, who have had no contact with the outside world, worship nature and not the Christian god?

      Again, if you don't send your kids to some kind of religious indoctrination, they won't magically become little evangelicals, or Catholics or Muslims.

      And I must ask why? Why isn't that seed of the one true faith placed in the babies? St. Augustine said that original sin was incorporated into the fetus, it is passed on to the baby in its father's sperm. That's why we are all born with original sin.

      My head hurts! God truly works in mysterious ways. If not for my faith, I might think someone was joshing me.

      July 7, 2010 at 8:45 pm |
  4. CM

    Maybe the problem isn't the preacher's inability to make the source material relevant to modern people, but rather that the source material itself is not relevant to modern society.

    July 7, 2010 at 11:54 am |
    • bobross2

      That's a dangerous thought... how could God not be relevant to a bunch of little,measly humans whose only hope of eternal life is in him?

      July 7, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
    • let's be real

      Wow! you actually typed that statement.

      "A little leaven; leavens the whole lump"

      July 7, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
    • Eric G

      @bobross2: "a bunch of little,measly humans"? I am sorry. I have a much higher opinion of myself. What is a dangerous thought is that you would worship something that, by your own admission, thinks so little of you. Do you have such low self esteem that you think you are not worthy of the attention of your imaginary friend? Seek help. Seek help from someone that you can actually see.

      July 7, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
    • CM

      Sorry to burst your bubble bob, but there is NO hope for eternal life for anyone. We all die, end of story. Inventing a reincarnated sonova deity that gives you immortality to alleviate your childish fear of dying doesn't make it reality.

      July 7, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
    • MikeTheInfidel

      "That's a dangerous thought... how could God not be relevant to a bunch of little,measly humans whose only hope of eternal life is in him?"

      Let's be quite honest: There is no ultimate hope. God is a wished-for dream of a never-ending life. It doesn't exist.

      But "there is no ultimate hope" doesn't mean we can't enjoy being alive and try to make it more enjoyable for everyone else.

      July 9, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  5. Grumpyoldlady

    Doesn't your church have Sunday school? In my day little kids only went to services with the grown-ups on special occasions -most weeks they went to Sunday school and learned about God and Jesus in age-appropriate ways. That way young children didn't have to sit through a long and boring service that and a sermon that was over their heads, and the grown-ups didn't have their worship disrupted by fidgety children.

    July 7, 2010 at 11:29 am |
    • Toby

      I feel that the only "appropriate way" to learn about God and Jesus is to present these ideas as myth and legend. Telling young children (indoctrinating them to the idea) that they are born diseased, immoral, defective, or otherwise wretched is, and I'm sorry if this sounds shrill-child abuse. Further, to then tell these children that they can survive their own death in paradise if they only accept the immoral offer of a human sacrifice is simply an abomination of all that is moral. It is an ugly, sick offer and there is simply no evidence for any of this nonsense. To all believers-do your children a favor and allow them to grow in their minds as well as their bodies. Teach them what you DO know. Teach them to be kind to others, to be compassionate, to be willing to say "I don't know" when questions of an afterlife or eternal deity come up. Otherwise, if you truly are seeking Truth (capital "T"), be willing to teach them Islam, Judaism, and Mormonism too. Maybe THEY are right and Christianity is wrong. Or maybe, just maybe...all of them are profoundly wrong and natural explanations exist for phenomenon that seem, right now, inexplicable to us.

      July 7, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Why do we want children to learn these myths in any manner, age appropriate or not? Get the kids jazzed about math and science. Spend the time and money wasted in church reading to them. Stop the silliness!

      July 7, 2010 at 2:01 pm |
    • let's be real

      @Toby, it's okay that you do not understand God, Jesus, Faith and personal growth. Until you do; please don't make suggestions you have no clue about. May God bless you all.

      July 7, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
    • let's be real

      Every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.

      July 7, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      If the services are "long and boring" isn't there something wrong anyway? Services should be peaceful, engaging, spiritual experiences. If you aren't getting that, maybe you're in the wrong church.

      July 8, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      If the services are "long and boring" isn't there something wrong anyway? Services should be peaceful, engaging, spiritual experiences. If you aren't getting that, maybe you're in the wrong church.

      In all fairness, its been 2000 years since we last heard from Jesus. The Christian churches have done a pretty good job to make it seem Jesus just left last week. Of course, their survial depends on keeping the story alive. Think of all the sermons that have been written in 2000 years. I wonder what the writters for Seinfeld are doing. How about a sit com?

      July 10, 2010 at 9:44 am |
  6. Guster

    It takes more faith to beleive God doesn't exist. Everything from nothing, yea that seems logical. Next your going to try to tell me that if I took some metal, rubber and plastic and put it in a pile then came back in 15 billion years, it would be a bicycle.

    July 7, 2010 at 10:51 am |
    • Anonymous

      With the right conditions, in 15 billion years, an organism may have evolved that could build a bicycle, yes. In fact last time it happened in less than 5 billion years.

      July 7, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
    • bobross2

      remember Guster, us God acknowledgers are the dumb ones, the athiest know everything

      July 7, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
    • bobross2

      Anonymous, macro-evolution doesn't exist... why don't u actually think about it instead of just accepting what scientist tell u

      July 7, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
    • let's be real

      What on earth are you talking about?

      July 7, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
    • Anonymous

      @bobross2,
      First, Guster's comment is a false dichotomy (i.e. not one or the other) in that evolution doesn't exclude the possibility of a God, it also doesn't require a God. It's really not a question of God or no God, just a question of does the evidence support the Theory.
      Second, I have thought about quite a bit and as far as I can tell the evidence support evolution. If you have evidence that contradicts evolution or a better theory, please present it.

      July 7, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
    • Anonymous

      Should be:
      ... I have thought about it quite a bit and as far as I can tell the evidence supports evolution. ...

      July 7, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
    • David Johnson

      bobross2,

      Read Richard Dawkins latest book, The Greatest Show On Earth. It is fantastic.

      You said, "us God acknowledgers are the dumb ones, the athiest know everything"

      Atheists don't claim to know everything. But we want to. We are not content to simply say "God did it" to every question. We want to know why it rains, or why the mountain rumbles. Once you say, "God does it", then the exploration stops. We don't need to concern ourselves any further. Our knowledge does not increase. We stagnate.

      What if, you accept evolution? All you have to do is say,"thats the way god does things". Ray Comfort does it all the time.

      July 8, 2010 at 8:25 am |
    • David Johnson

      Guster,

      Everything from nothing, yea that seems logical
      #########################################################################

      But, where did god come from? Or, is god the exception to the rule that "something can not come from nothing" ?

      #################################################################################################

      Next your going to try to tell me that if I took some metal, rubber and plastic and put it in a pile then came back in 15 billion years, it would be a bicycle.

      ####################################################################################################

      Not even in an infinite amount of time. The metal, rubber and plastic are not living. In order for evolution to work, there must be life. The metal, rubber and plastic would just sit in a pile.

      July 8, 2010 at 8:50 am |
    • Leah (TXanimal)

      It takes no faith at all for people like me, Guster. I really could care less if we evolved from a puddle of goo or if some magical being wished us into existence. I'm more concerned with being kind to my fellow man just because it's the right thing to do, and making sure I can pay my bills so I can keep a roof over my head. If the Invisible Pink Unicorn decides I need to spend eternity burning in a fiery pit because I happen to like gay people and don't go to a Christian church, so be it. I don't wanna hang out forever on a cloud with someone like that anyway.

      July 8, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      I have a friend who once supposed that evolution was evidence that God was the greatest engineer ever.

      Evolution says nothing about God either way. It can happen with God or without. God is a matter of faith and never will be a matter of evidence.

      July 8, 2010 at 8:37 pm |
    • PillarOfSalt

      It takes WAY more faith to believe in a god. Everyday is proof to the contrary. Tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes destroying families and killing thousands while this god sits around doing nothing to help! If there is a god, he's a real jerk, and doesn't deserve to be praised by anyone with compassion for fellow humans.

      July 9, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
    • MikeTheInfidel

      "I have a friend who once supposed that evolution was evidence that God was the greatest engineer ever."

      Your friend must not know any good engineers. The human eye alone has enough imperfection on its own to prove that nothing with a mind designed us. It's all backwards and there's a nasty big blind spot caused by the nerves and blood vessels blocking part of the light. An engineer that designed something like that could only be called incompetent at best.

      July 9, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      Evolution says nothing about God either way. It can happen with God or without. God is a matter of faith and never will be a matter of evidence.

      Ocams Razor would disagree with you. It demands we pick the simplest explanation. God is EXTREMELY complicated. If we can find a solution to a question, like evolution, that does not require a god to explain the diversity of life, then it should be chosen as the expanation. The simplest explanation is usually the correct answer.

      July 10, 2010 at 1:41 am |
    • David Johnson

      MikeTheInfidel,

      The eye was a really good example of poor engineering. Cheers dude!

      July 10, 2010 at 1:46 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Leah (TXanimal)

      I don't wanna hang out forever on a cloud with someone like that anyway.

      What, and miss your opportunity to fan god and sing "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God of Hosts" for all eternity?

      Well, I never!

      July 10, 2010 at 11:22 am |
    • Leah (TXanimal)

      @David Johnson:

      I only sing when I've had too much to drink. And somehow I don't think these folks' version of God would appreciate me turning the my fluffy cloud into the local watering hole 😉

      July 10, 2010 at 2:53 pm |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      "The simplest explanation is usually the correct answer."

      And you think evolution is simple???

      Also–you do notice the word "usually", right? Just because it's usually the correct one, doesn't mean it always is. Perhaps there are factors you cannot see that factor in to the solution.

      July 11, 2010 at 10:54 pm |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      @MikeTheInfidel

      You assume we are done evolving. That the eye, as it exists now, is the end. The beauty of evolution, from an engineering perspective, is that the solutions create and choose themselves. If it is critical to our fitness, it will get better.

      July 11, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      You said, "And you think evolution is simple??? "

      Compared to the complexity of a god who has no beginning and no end, who speaks, and starts time itself...Yes.
      If I can explain how all the different "biblical kinds" of plants and animals can exist without having to add this god... Without increasing the number of entities needed, then this is what should be done.
      Go to a science chat room or even Youtube. The people there will agree with me.

      You said, "Also–you do notice the word "usually", right? Just because it's usually the correct one, doesn't mean it always is. Perhaps there are factors you cannot see that factor in to the solution."

      Unless you have solid proof that god is needed, or is somehow directing the process that has provided the diversity of species, then it would be correct to choose the simplest explanation. In this case, no god required.

      You can also run this by others. Cheer!

      July 12, 2010 at 12:02 am |
    • David Johnson

      @One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      You said, "You assume we are done evolving. That the eye, as it exists now, is the end. The beauty of evolution, from an engineering perspective, is that the solutions create and choose themselves. If it is critical to our fitness, it will get better."

      One of God's attributes, is perfection. God is said to be perfect. By definition everything god does, is perfect.

      A perfect, all knowing God, would not need to evolve anything.

      The imperfections, found in the human eye, are proof for evolution rather than creation by a perfect god. A perfect god would "get it right the first time".

      Again, I don't want to argue about this. Run this by people in a science chat room or even people commenting on YouTube. They will not agree with your argument. Bye!

      July 12, 2010 at 11:39 am |
  7. Pirogi

    Hmm... I expected a much more serious article than this. Having been raised three times a week in a pentecostal church where members regularly spoke in tongues, gave prophesies, and generally kept very tight control over the lives of the congregation, I can testify to the damage that being in this environment can have on a young child and teenager. It took me many years of seeking and self-reflection to overcome the impressions left on me. Shame, guilt, intolerance, fear ... these are just a few of the scars I have from my experiences with church as a child. I made it to the other side. Many don't.

    July 7, 2010 at 10:10 am |
    • David Johnson

      Be grateful you weren't Catholic and an altar boy. You talk about trauma..

      July 8, 2010 at 10:39 am |
    • Leah (TXanimal)

      I feel your pain. I was raised in a VERY conservative congregation (Church of Christ...not to be confused with LDS). At 15, my Sunday School teacher took a verse about faith blatantly out of context and said "See men & women? This is why we don't associate with gays or Jews, because they're evil and will turn you away from God." When I challenged him and asked why, if our faith was so strong, and we were protected by God, we should be worried about the influence of people who clearly aren't "God's people"? Then I asked why we shouldn't spend MORE time with these people, since they were clearly "defective" and needed people like us in their lives? My "teacher" then said that we needed to pull away from those "defective" people and care for ourselves, that God would judge these people for their "evil", and it wasn't our job to care for them.

      I laughed, asked what he thought Jesus would have to say about that last statement, got up, walked out and never went back. I was raised in that church...went twice a week, participated in youth group functions, went to VBS, went to sleep-away camps they were associated with. I should have been completely brainwashed, but my own conscience and common sense saw through the nonsense at 15 years old.

      July 8, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      David–please. Don't make such sweeping generalizations here. The Catholic Church has no more pedophiles and anywhere else. Statically they are average. So every other church has just as many. And every other grocery store, bank, and post office.

      July 8, 2010 at 8:33 pm |
    • MikeTheInfidel

      "David–please. Don't make such sweeping generalizations here. The Catholic Church has no more pedophiles and anywhere else. Statically they are average. So every other church has just as many. And every other grocery store, bank, and post office."

      Find me a grocery store, bank, or post office claiming to be the earthly representative of the perfectly moral creator of the universe, and your comparison will be meaningful. Until then, if your source for ultimate morality isn't any more moral than a grocery store, you can keep it.

      July 9, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
    • David Johnson

      MikeTheInfidel,

      You are right about the Catholics. Sometimes I'm too harsh. I love your comments man. I hope I didn't offend.

      July 10, 2010 at 12:26 am |
    • David Johnson

      One Whose Name Means Beloved of God,

      You are correct in your math. But, the problem is one of conspiracy. There were repeated times when a priest who was accused of being a pedaphile, was sent to another flock of sheep without warning the new parish. If these pedaphiles were sent to monasteries, where there were no children, I guess I could cut some slack. This wasn't the case. Like predators, they stalked their new flock of lambs. Truly wolves in sheep clothing.

      If Wal-Mart had found an employee had harmed a child, do you think they would have transferred them to another store?

      I'm sorry, but the Catholic was wrong and is still wrong.

      July 10, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  8. moondoggie

    Wait a minute now, I thought this was an article about sermons. Talk to the subject here. As a religion teacher, I am going to use this drawing exercise in the classroom. What a great tool to enlighten clergy (and myself) on how the kids see what we do. I think it is worth the effort to capture the minds of the children in an elightened way. Clearly the adults are already lost.

    July 7, 2010 at 8:54 am |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      I think some people just want to give their own sermons. Not talk about them. 🙂

      July 8, 2010 at 8:31 pm |
    • MikeTheInfidel

      "I think it is worth the effort to capture the minds of the children in an elightened way."

      'Capture' is definitely the right word for it. What you're doing is an act of violence against their ability to think freely.

      July 9, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
  9. garc

    I LOVE the existential breakdown picture above.

    July 7, 2010 at 8:25 am |
  10. truth777

    God commanded us to keep the 7th day as a day of rest (Sabbath). Exodus 20:8-11. Because on this day his people receive blessings and are made holy. So what day is the biblical sabbath? Well you can start by looking at your cell phones and reading off the days starting with the first day of the week being sunday and the 7th day being saturday. Also before you leave for work on friday evening you usually tell your co-workers have a nice weekend because you know the next day is the end of the week. And if that doesn't make it any clearer you can also look at the dictionary and you'll find the definition for sunday is the first day of the week and saturday is the 7th day of the week. So clearly we can see that the sabbath day or true day to worship God is saturday not sunday. If you want to get biblical then we can see what day the 7th day is also thru the bible by going to Mark 16:9. It reads that Jesus rose early on the first day of the week. so what day does Easter always fall on??? You guessed it Sunday the first day of the week. Clearly saturday is the 7th day. True Christians follow the examples or teachings that Jesus taught us and we can see that Jesus kept the sabbath in Luke 4:16 and also his disciples in Acts 17:2. We can also see what happens to false prophets who continue to disobey God by reading Matthew 7:21-23. So only people who do the will of God will enter heaven. God commanded us to keep holy the 7th day(sabbath). False prophets and those who follow them will be asking God "What did we do wrong?" on the day of judgment. Open your eyes to the truth and watch for those that are false!

    July 6, 2010 at 8:04 pm |
    • Meg

      Interesting (very seriously). And... your point is...?

      July 6, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
    • JennyTX

      You do realize, of course, that other religions believe their theories as fervently as you believe yours, right? What makes you right and them wrong?

      July 6, 2010 at 11:28 pm |
    • truth777

      @ JennyTX

      Well as you know a theory is something that has not been proven fact. But what I said about the 7th day(Sabbath) is fact not theory. So it becomes truth which makes it correct. My argument proves that saturday should be the day of worship not sunday. I just added it up correctly in my last post to show what is true and correct. So how did the first day of the week (Sunday) become the day of worship...1+1=1???? Didn't God say the 7th day (Saturday)....1+1=2?

      July 7, 2010 at 12:53 am |
    • David Johnson

      Meg,

      And a man was found to be gathering wood to make a fire on the Sabath. The people took the man to Moses who asked god what should be done with this terrible person. God demanded that he be stoned to death. And he was.

      The point is, that god is love. Go in peace my sister.

      July 7, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
    • JMG

      In Europe, Monday is the first day of the week, not Sunday... so where does that leave a large chunk of the world? Fundamentally, religion is created by man. Man may be divinely inspired, but the Bible as it is exists today because in the Hundreds a bunch of religious elite decided which books would be in the Bible based on what they wanted to tell the masses – not on what was the recorded history – which is all the Bible is – a history book.

      July 11, 2010 at 7:37 am |
    • truth777

      @JMG
      Well actually the names of the day for example monday, tuesday, wednesday, and thursday actually translate from greek into second, third, forth, and fifth. If you go back into time the 7th day is saturday and sunday is the 1st day and monday being the second. I'm not really interested in europe changing which days of the week is which. i bet this change occured in recent times or during modern times but I am just interested in informing those who do not know what day the true biblical sabbath and also remember where the days of the week come from yes EUROPE well Rome actually. The bibblical sabbath was changed in Rome from saturday to sunday by Emperor constantine in 321AD to honor the day of the sun = Pagan sun god worship. Well if you ask any general christian what day the sabbath day is they will say sunday because its what they have grown up knowing. Sunday has been used for over 1500 years. But was this the true day of the sabbath? No. Jesus christ and his apostles kept sabbath on saturday not sunday. Yea your right though about the bible being a history book because it is whose story? God's story and he can tell it like he wants. So i think you need to study a little more about His story to and hopefully gin some wisdom from it.

      July 11, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @JennyTX

      You said, "You do realize, of course, that other religions believe their theories as fervently as you believe yours, right? What makes you right and them wrong?"

      I have been preaching this for a while now, but they believe it not. But blessed are you, who knows the truth!

      July 12, 2010 at 10:42 am |
  11. David Johnson

    Next, you'll be telling me there is no Santa Claus.

    July 6, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
    • HeIsGod

      David, dear, even a 3rd grader graduates from believing in Santa Claus, boy, there is still much work to do with you. Lots of growing up to do! Maybe a child will help you understand that Santa Claus and Jesus Christ has always been there since the foundation of the earth.

      BTW, let me who Santa Claus really is: Take the "n" from Santa and move it to the end of the "a", and what do you spell?

      SATAN...good job!!

      July 7, 2010 at 9:00 pm |
    • David Johnson

      HeIsGod,

      What does Satan, Jesus and Santa Claus all have in common? They were all created by man.

      You are right about questioning Santa, at about the 3rd grade. I started wondering how Santa got into my house. We didn't have a chimney. And how all those toys got delivered in one night. I asked my Dad about these concerns and he admitted Santa was made up. I think I also learned that year, that the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny were also only stories. Magic doesn't exist. But you know what? Santa was very real to me. I would write him letters and had FAITH that he was reading my letters. I knew that I had to be good, and sometimes felt Santa was watching me. I knew that the kids down the street didn't get toys. I thought it was because they had SINNED against Santa. Later, I learned their father was sick and out of work. All the children wanted from Santa, was for their father to get better. He died a few days after Christmas.

      When it came time to put away Santa, it actually felt good. It settled my mind.

      July 8, 2010 at 8:03 am |
    • Goreczky

      Actually David Johnson, we know what Santa clause looks like. We however DO NOT have a clear image of GOD or SATAN.
      And santa is real btw.

      July 8, 2010 at 11:10 am |
    • David Johnson

      Goreczky,

      Actually, it was a comfort to know there was no Santa and later to realize there was no god. It always seemed sort of eerie that they could always see me. Sometimes I would be on the toilet...

      July 10, 2010 at 9:27 am |
    • HedgedIn

      David Johnson, how can the idea of there being no God be of any comfort to you? How can knowing that you will die, your accomplishments and trials meaning nothing, that everything you've felt meaning nothing, possibly be comforting? How can you live day to day, having no hope? I've never understood this viewpoint and it appalls me whenever I hear a nonbeliever say that they are at peace. How could you be? If you cease to exist, how can this thought not fill your days with dread and terror?

      July 10, 2010 at 11:16 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @HedgedIn

      You said, "David Johnson, how can the idea of there being no God be of any comfort to you? How can knowing that you will die, your accomplishments and trials meaning nothing, that everything you've felt meaning nothing, possibly be comforting? How can you live day to day, having no hope? I've never understood this viewpoint and it appalls me whenever I hear a nonbeliever say that they are at peace. How could you be? If you cease to exist, how can this thought not fill your days with dread and terror?"

      Your comments express the reason the gods were invented. No one wants this life to be the only life. No one wants to die.
      Throughout history pyramids, monuments, folklore, etc., have been used to say,"Hey! I existed! See the column for a list of my accomplishments!"

      But, it is what it is. There is no proof that there is a god. When we die, we decompose just like the other animals. There is nothing special about our deaths. There is no proof of a soul. We can only say with certainty, that our physical bodies go nowhere.

      We live on through our children. I find peace with that knowledge.

      Cheers!

      July 12, 2010 at 10:37 am |
  12. SDFrankie

    At my church this week I will be explaining how to spin straw into gold. I'll keep it short and up-tempo with appropriate hand gestures and, as always, a big smile. That's what the rubes....er...people want to hear. Next week: Leprechauns. Who They Are. How To Catch One.

    July 6, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  13. waynebob

    I finally had to just quit attending worship services because I got so bored of hearing the same praise and worship pop songs, written at a third grade level ( and that's being kind ). I felt we were taking God's name in vain to associate it with such "music". I found myself getting much closer to God listening to a good jazz band in a bar......but, maybe it was just the beer 😉

    July 5, 2010 at 8:03 pm |
    • David Johnson

      You are my kind of religious folk!

      July 6, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
    • Leah (TXanimal)

      Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy... 😉

      July 8, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
  14. Lt. Dan

    skk, you do know that the bible is not written by god, don't you? Funny stuff, Matthew, Luke, John, those are just what . . . gods multiple personalities?

    July 5, 2010 at 2:22 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Many people have used "pen names" when writing. I think it quite possible god used the 4 gospel writer's names.

      July 6, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
    • HeIsGod

      Wow, you are like soooo smart and knowledgeable in your own eyes! LOL

      July 7, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
    • GregB

      There were scribes who took down myths and legends and tried to pass them off as the living testaments of a god on earth.

      July 8, 2010 at 1:24 pm |
    • David Johnson

      GregB – And if you read the bible and listen to the fundies, they did a right fine job.

      July 8, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
  15. One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

    My favorite priest gave the most wonderful sermons. He always drew from his experiences to show the gospel readings' application in real life. His stories were often funny, heart-felt, and entertaining.

    Kids don't buy platitudes. They like stories. That's why Jesus spoke in them so often.

    July 5, 2010 at 10:17 am |
    • Meg

      Well said. Our last minister was wonderful at doing just that. He incorporated current events into his sermons to accomplish two goals: he used the events to clarify important teachings from the Bible AND he used biblical examples to give interesting - sometimes enlightening - perspective on the current events. I agree with you... it seems many of our co-commenters here forget that Jesus used current events and stories to reinforce his teachings and to make them accessible. That's not pandering. It's called "teaching."

      By the way, happy naysayers, I'm agnostic, leaning more towards atheist than religious. And YES, I got a lot out of these sermons. I was not "brainwashed" (ridiculous to think someone has to be brainwashed to be religious... how disrespectful) and I held our minister in high regard. I envy and admire individuals who have great faith (not blind faith, not faith that engenders hatred or exclusion, but faith through open eyes and with open arms).

      July 6, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
    • question

      Maybe you two are from the same church 😀

      July 7, 2010 at 8:04 pm |
    • HeIsGod

      I agree! Well said! That is the best way children can start understanding our Lord and Savior!

      July 7, 2010 at 8:47 pm |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      Not far off base. I'm an atheist.

      But I still think my priest was a most excellent teacher.

      July 8, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
  16. Evan

    Everyone, eight-year-olds included, is capable of engaging with and comprehending a lengthy sermon if it is properly organized and clearly follows the text. The method typically called 'exegetical preaching' takes some getting used to but that's the job of the minister- to help his people grow, to stretch them, to lead them in increasing knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures. Catering to the television-molded attention span of the 'crowd' doesn't help them, it just keeps them in a spiritually handicapped condition. I know a good many children whose sermon notes are just as complete as those of their parents in all the main points and who can sit through and follow a careful, well-organized sermon of 30 minutes or more. It's time we stopped pandering to our culture's intellectual vacuity and renewed a commitment to strong minds and strong hearts. This condition which J.C. Ryle- way back in the mid-1800s- called 'jellyfish Christianity' has got to go.

    July 3, 2010 at 7:47 am |
    • Evan

      I should learn not to comment on anything right after waking up. I meant to say 'expository preaching,' not 'exegetical preaching.'

      July 3, 2010 at 8:13 am |
    • David Johnson

      You cannot be serious! You know people who take notes during a sermon? I mean I could see the old folk doing that, they are cramming for finals. But younger people?

      July 6, 2010 at 7:13 pm |
    • David Johnson

      I meant to say 'expository preaching,' not 'exegetical preaching.'

      I think you meant "suppository preaching". LOL, LOL, LOL I made a funny. I don't care who you are, that's funny!

      July 6, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
    • Mary

      Length doesn't equal effectiveness.

      July 6, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
    • HeIsGod

      Evan, only the unbelievers are spiritually handicapped! They don't have any idea how horrible it is going to be if he/she dies without Christ! JOHN 3:16

      July 7, 2010 at 8:44 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @This condition which J.C. Ryle- way back in the mid-1800s- called 'jellyfish Christianity' has got to go.

      I agree! This Christianity had got to go!!!

      July 11, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  17. Cousinji

    Appreciate jawn lawks’ explanation to the first drawing. 8-year’s comment was so cute and honest.

    What do you mean saying bill maher and rush limbaugh are “tools”? They are tools in whose hand?

    July 3, 2010 at 12:41 am |
    • mr pink

      i mean they're tools in the hands of their opposite ideologies. propagandists for hire. there's plenty like them, you know talking heads, people who make careers out of being deaf to the opposing opinion and airing only their own opinions. it's entertaining i guess, but you wouldnt hire them to resolve a conflict

      and as for cuteness, i especially appreciated the why why why thing lol.

      July 3, 2010 at 12:49 am |
    • David Johnson

      True of Rush. Maher not so much. Maher has Jesus in his heart. You gotta love that.

      July 6, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
  18. God

    1. Could someone please explain the drawing? I tried, and I don't get it.
    2. Could someone please explain skk's comment? What a nut job.

    July 2, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
    • jawn lawk

      the drawing appears to be a church front stage with piano on the left, podium in the middle and choir seats on the right. skk is presenting his beliefs. seek first to understand, then to be understood. calling people nutjobs can make bill maher or rush limbaugh some money, but they're tools.

      July 2, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
    • David Johnson

      jawn lawk – I think the picture was a description of the pastor passing the collection plate. The kid was wondering why god needs so much money and what was daddy trying to atone for, by dropping so much into the plate. Mommy was thinking the same thing.

      skk is trying to save our souls. He probably even believes in prayer. *sigh*

      July 6, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
    • HeIsGod

      Ha, ha, ha!!! You are funny! The picture with the microphone is the Pastor preaching the Word of God and the other one is referring to a child being bored and frustrated with the service because to the child, it is a very long service. Children need to be in Sunday School.

      July 7, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
    • GregB

      @HeIsGod: I agree. Put those little ones in Sunday School. Gotta start them early if you want them to live in the mental-shackles of the church and prevent them from thinking for themselves. Who else would fill the collection plates on Sunday once the older generation dies off?

      July 8, 2010 at 1:14 pm |
  19. skk

    Possible afterlife? The Bible is the 100% word of God Almighty with no loopholes or falacies. Everything that you will ever need to learn about personal growth can be learned from Gods word. Introducing mans opinion or "expert" advice is dangerous. Gods Holy Word is infallible. It is a supernatural book meant to guide us by our Creator. It is 100% Truth. The afterlife is a fact. It's where you go in it that is still subject to determination while you are here.

    July 2, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
    • imuststandup

      Actually, the Holy Bible doesn't specify details of an afterlife, only detail of the 2nd coming of Jesus...

      July 2, 2010 at 8:44 pm |
    • peace2all

      @skk....Please......malarkey......give us all a break from the religious fanatical zealotry....

      July 6, 2010 at 4:23 am |
    • Toby

      My guess is that you walk around all day wearing a shroud, sandals, with a goat in tow. You are in need of some serious de-programming.

      July 6, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
    • David Johnson

      See, that is what I was trying to tell him. I couldn't have said it better.

      Introducing mans opinion or "expert" advice is dangerous.
      That is so true. There are "experts" who actually claim a talking snake could not be so. Good thing I have my King James.

      Gods Holy Word is infallible. It is a supernatural book meant to guide us by our Creator. It is 100% Truth.
      Even the parts that contradict the other parts are 100% Truth.

      The afterlife is a fact. It's where you go in it that is still subject to determination while you are here.

      But, if god is all knowing, he already knew, even before I was conceived, if I would be saved or damned. Why would god allow me to be born knowing I would burn forever? Seems cruel, but that's just me. Anyway, God Bless!

      July 6, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
    • Grondahl

      @imuststandup

      The Bible is quite clear on the afterlife, and how we're going to one of two places. Sheep and Goats? Eternal Fire, Everlasting Damnation? "In my Father's house are many rooms, I go there to prepare a place for you"? Book of Revelation? Forgive me for not supplying chapters and verses, but they're all in there.

      July 7, 2010 at 10:47 am |
    • Mark

      Completely infallible? Howabout starting off with two mutually exclusive creation stories? Or that the earth is the center of the universe, leprosy is caused by sinning, sacrifices can influence weather patterns...I don't get how people can believe in this stuff.

      There are passages in the bible where god tells his soldiers to kill all men, women, and children in the village except for the virgins which they can keep for themselves.

      July 8, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
    • ebay

      And you have absolutely no evidence for this. I might as well believe the Qur'an to be 100% the word of Allah and follow that as fact.

      July 8, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
    • Bubba

      "Even the parts that contradict the other parts are 100% Truth." That's an insane statement.

      July 9, 2010 at 11:39 am |
    • KeithTexas

      You must be joking, right?

      July 9, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
    • Nursehope

      Wake Up! Afterlife=ash of our decomposing physical being. Your mythical fictional writings (which BTW are 2,010 yrs old) are hopelessly flawed and bungled. They only serve to create fear in the hearts of the weak minded. sheesh

      July 9, 2010 at 11:29 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Mark,

      Women are property. Have you read the nifty rule that if a virgin is raped by a man, she is forced to marry him?

      Sharron Angle thinks that if a girl is raped by her father, and she becomes pregnant, an abortion is still out of the question. Sharron says, "2 wrongs don't make a right". If the little guy is running around the house with web feet, it's all god's plan.

      July 10, 2010 at 12:18 am |
    • David Johnson

      Mark,

      And here is one from the New Testament: There is a genealogy for jesus in Mathew and in Luke. The bible claims both are provided for Joseph. Some claim that the Luke genealogy is actually for Mary. But, that's not what the inerrant King James says.

      The problem with the 2 Genealogies is that they are both different. Read 'em. I had tears in my eyes.

      July 10, 2010 at 9:08 am |
  20. peace2all

    Very admirable to desire to help your congregation and be relevant as to what matters in their lives now. Maybe, you might want to bring in more of your successes as a minister and see that you are successful as well. Also, bring in other texts, besides the bible......people want personal growth now.....not just what is written in that particular book about the possible afterlife too.....

    July 2, 2010 at 11:31 am |
    • David Johnson

      Be careful which books you bring, brother. Not every book is as perfect and inerrant as our King James. Some books will tell you the creation week never happened and that the flood was a fable. We can have none of that, brother! Our King James tells us how the gods were afraid man would build a tower to heaven and so caused them to speak in different languages. Some books say a stairway to heaven was not possible. Who would you believe? Knowledge is not a good thing my brother. Better to stink and be ignorant, than to be to curious. Read only from the King James. Jimmy Swaggart has one on sale for only $50.00. And he swears not one dime of that will go to fallen women. Raise up the children to believe in magic. So what if they have to compete with the rest of the world.

      July 6, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
    • James

      That is the only revelant book to use – every truth is written in that work – there is nothing new under the sun – just different time – different names but problems are the same -greed, jealousy, fear, hatred and lust for power.

      July 6, 2010 at 7:37 pm |
    • Mick

      "there is nothing new under the sun – just different time"

      That's correct! The pagans invented concepts like the Trinity, the Eucharist, Ten Commandments, virgin birth, resurrection, etc...then later on the Bible stole their ideas.

      July 7, 2010 at 1:28 pm |
    • Carl

      @Mick. Your right the pagans did come up with concepts like the trinity, the Eucharist, Christmas tree, etc. notice none of those things are in the bible. Seems to me the "Christianity" of today is mostly adoption of pagan worship practices with a Christ label slapped on them. Doesn’t mean that real Christianity isn't valid.

      July 8, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
    • Terry from West Texas

      As my saintly grandmother used to say, "If the King James Version was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me."

      July 8, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
    • HH

      I disagree with another poster about the King James version. I grew up with it, and, bad as it sounds, found it annoying to read. Just couldn't stand the Elizabethan English. When I was sixteen someone gave me the Living Bible (this was the 70s) and I began to devour the gospels. Now I have a New Revised Standard Version which I love.

      Oh, and one Sunday School teacher actually insisted that the "thous" and "thees" were the way Jesus really talked (rolls eyes)......

      July 9, 2010 at 12:07 am |
    • Neil

      I love when people say only read the Kings James, all truth is within it! They are idiots who have no leaning toward history. The Torah is the original, that is where all truth is. The Kings James is a second hand edition translated for the masses. Educate yourself historically and learn about the true first Ecumenical Council and the Nicene Creed. It is funny how Religious adherents and zealots are often the most in need of a history lesson!

      July 9, 2010 at 7:30 am |
    • Bubba

      "Better to stink and be ignorant, than to be to curious." You explain perfectly why I give up on religious people: curiosity is a sin to you.

      July 9, 2010 at 11:37 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.