I can't think of a title...

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Warren

Puritan Board Freshman
I've heard many sermons, being in church all my life, moving quite a bit, listening over the radio and the internet, as well as reading them. Its plain that formula can vary, (maybe the book of Hebrews being the best prescription of all) but one... "style" which I wonder about is the use of jocular sarcasm.

Is sarcasm more caustic to the hearer than its use is worth? I've heard not a few sermons, which veered into what were obviously for amusement, and I felt uncomfortable laughing, even though the preacher wanted the laughs. Is this an effective tool for preaching in certain congregations or in particular passages? Likewise, I've been under preaching when something unintended for laughter became funny to many in the congregation, including myself.

I generally don't remember what came before or after the punchline, as my brain is wired for pleasure, like laughing, and the memory often colors the sermon, so no matter the subject, I'm happy and high, even if memory of the sermon and the funny stuff has faded. I just want to know if I've found something which is a common stumbling block, or if I've made a mountain of a mole hill... I likewise don't take notes during sermons, because it's distracting for me, yet a lot of folks are good listeners and note takers...
 

Cymro

Puritan Board Junior
My position is that I abhor any jocularity in the pulpit. It is a serious
and solemn calling to preach the gospel, for the gospel declared is a
savour of life to some and a savour of death to others. A matter of life
or death! The terrors of hell or sweetness of grace when proclaimed,
have no place for humour. It certainly had no place in the ministry of
our fathers.
 

jambo

Puritan Board Senior
I would not be in favour of humour for the sake of raising a laugh. However if it as used carefully to illustrate a point then I could accept it. For example, Matthew mentioned in the thread that he could remember the joke but not the point. That is a misuse of humour. If one remembered the point then I think the illustration, humourous or serious, achieved its aim.
 

Warren

Puritan Board Freshman
To summarize the previous topic Mr. Peters linked:

So humo(u)r is biblical, even sarcasm when ridiculing sin. If God would use the "dumb ass" of Baalam (2 Peter 2:15-16) to shame false teachers and embezzlers, for being lower than a beast of burden, then humor has a place. My personal thoughts were more about the jocular, frivolous kind of sarcasm. The kind of humor that doesn't develop the content. Its more appropriate for the playground or [Sitcom]. Maybe if I was more mature, I'd brush by those distractions with ease, to wit that bad jokes can actually help a wise listener hone their discernment.

Some teachers I can tell when the five minute stretch starts, and we're about to pray, because they remind the congregation to stop thinking about their lunch plans, before making their last point. To me that alienates, it doesn't teach. Someone has to think of that, and I just wonder what the thought process is. But maybe the device helps him to focus.

It is a serious
and solemn calling to preach the gospel, for the gospel declared is a
savour of life to some and a savour of death to others.
That reminds me of the late Douglas MacMillan, who preached about the two races of men in Genesis, and the danger of leaving church Sunday feeling moved, even gladly affected, by the preaching, if there is no repentance. I can hear him saying the Word is either a savour of life unto life or death unto death... His sermon is on the web somewhere.
 

KeithW

Puritan Board Freshman
Maybe if I was more mature, I'd brush by those distractions with ease, to wit that bad jokes can actually help a wise listener hone their discernment.
If you are already discerning this then you are demonstrating a certain level of maturity. And you are already noting it as a distraction.

I have listened to a lot of sermons from different churches around my area. The most extreme example I have heard of what you are talking about was from a pastor who is also a high school coach. Half the sermon was good, and half was off message doing the jocular interaction thing with the audience like they were his high school students.
 
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