Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sometimes a demon is just a demon

The sermon at church this morning was given by a deacon. I get the impression that the deacons at this church are given a chance every year to "go to bat" as it were. It was...ok. She (yes, a woman...that's another issue) did an adequate job, but a) she read the whole thing like she was recording for Books on Tape, and b) she activated one of my hobby horse alerts: allegorizing (metaphorizing?) things in Scripture that...are you ready for this?...are meant to be taken literally. This is the converse of another bugaboo, which is literalizing everything.

It was the thing in
Mark 1, where the guy in the synagogue has a demon and this demon starts heckling Jesus. Jesus evicts the demon from the guy. The demon does not go quietly. It's pretty cut and dried: the spirit world knew who Jesus was and wasn't happy about it, and Jesus was starting to show the humans around Him Who was Who. This could have evolved into a nice discussion of anything from spiritual warfare to the deity of Jesus to...well, lots of things. What did we get? Demons as a metaphor for hangups, addictions, and various other sins. "Are you struggling with your "demons"? I do. There are lots of demons: alcoholism, fornication, workaholicism, anger..." You get the picture. It was a warm fuzzy, bland, tepid, Hallmark sort of thing. Nice, but not really satisfying.

And what's the deal with Anglicans (Catholics, etc.) being assigned the scripture for the sermon/homily each week? I was raised in the Lutheran church, and apparently one of Luther's 95 Theses involved freedom of scripture choice for sermon material.


  1. Wow. I went to a Catholic church in Stockton this weekend, and the priest said the exact same thing.

  2. Holy Cow...they must be on the same cycle of scriptures!