I’ve had this sermon series in mind for awhile, and I think I’ve let it marinate enough in my mind that I’m ready to move forward with it soon. But I need some input. The idea behind the series is there are a lot of biblical words that have been co-opted by our larger society and redefined in such a way that gives them a negative spin.
For example, the word “sin.” I had a parishioner tell me that she mentally turns me off whenever she hears that word in a sermon because its negative meaning was pounded into her while she was growing up. And I was told once by a pastor that I shouldn’t use that word in my sermons because it makes people cringe. She said I should use “brokenness,” to which I replied, “But Paul didn’t say, ‘The wages of brokenness are death’.” The word “sin” has been taken from its biblical context and so negatively redefined that people are afraid to use it. Therefore, the word loses its power both to help us understand our own condition and how we can be saved from it.
The title of the series would be “Christianity’s Dirty Words.” Where I need help is determining which words or phrases to preach about. So far, I’ve come up with these: sin, salvation/being saved, obedience/submission, sacrifice, suffering, evangelism, community, stewardship, confession, death/eternal life/Heaven, doubt, healing, justice/mercy, miracle, peace, revelation, worship.
I could also include some words that have positive meanings in our culture, but still have lost the potency of their biblical meaning: Hope, grace, love, joy, service.
Here’s my questions for you: what words am I missing? If you had to pick four to six words you’d like to hear sermons about, which ones would they be? Which ones most intrigue you? Who knows, if this goes well it may become my first book!