I used to go to church a lot. My church of choice was the First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ. But I’ve also been to other protestant denominations including Lutheran, Methodist, Nazarene, Baptist, Pentecostal, and Assembly of God.
I’ve heard a lot of sermons in my day. Most of the sermons centered around the teachings of Jesus, as would be expected in a Christian church. The Pentecostal preachers really focus on the Book of Acts for some reason. Acts tells about how the early churchgoers practiced their faith; it has very little to do with what Jesus said or taught.
Many sermons are based on the writings of St. Paul. Here was a man who never met Jesus but could tell you everything in Jesus’ head. There are four Gospels in the bible, all written after Paul’s letters. But there is no Gospel of Paul. Jesus told Peter that he was the rock upon which his church would be built, but it turns out that Paul is the real foundation, at least in most churches I’ve attended.
And once in awhile, the pastor will go back to the Old Testament for the source of his sermon. They preach a lot from Genesis and a lot from the so-called books of prophecy. But I’ve never heard a sermon based on any of the following bible passages. I’m not saying no preacher has ever uttered them aloud, but if they have, it was probably in the context of trying to explain what God really meant to say. But it is God, after all. And it is the bible, God’s supposed word. Why does He have to be explained?
2 Kings 2:23-24 – “Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, ‘Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!’ So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the LORD. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.”
It would be difficult for a preacher to work into his sermon on this chapter why God would stoop so low as to kill 42 children for being childishly rude. And couldn’t God have just stricken them dead instead of sending bears to maul them to death? This is one sadistic creator of the universe.
Deuteronomy 25:11-12 – “If two men, a man and his countryman, are struggling together, and the wife of one comes near to deliver her husband from the hand of the one who is striking him, and puts out her hand and seizes his genitals, then you shall cut off her hand; you shall not show pity.”
Ok, let me get this straight. To guys are fighting. The wife of one guy comes to and grabs the other guy’s testicles in order to stop him from killing her husband. Did this happen a lot? Were there any repeat offenders? Maybe that should have been one of the Ten Commandments in place of, I don’t know, “Thou shalt observe the Sabbath and keep it holy.” Not too many people follow that one anyway. But cutting off her hands seems a bit strict.
Malachi 2:3 – “Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces….”
This is God talking. I can’t think of any way in which a preacher could smooth this one over. I mean, if the Almighty gets so angry that he is compelled to smear feces on someone’s face and make him infertile, that’s sinking pretty low. Maybe the Lord was just having a rotten day.
The above passage comes from the King James Version, which some other versions also state similarly. But the New International Version cleans it up a bit. It states that offal from sacrifices will be spread on the faces. That’s still pretty bad, but probably not as bad a dung. The NIV was translated by fundamentalist Christians with the intent of bringing in more souls. In other words, the writers had a clear agenda, so it is no wonder they clean up the bible a little and remove some of the inconsistencies that are obvious in other versions.
Ezekiel 22:20 – “There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.”
This verse, obviously from the Larry Flint edition, could be a bumper sticker. I guess the preacher could elaborate on this one if he sent the kids off to the Sunday school rooms for cookies. I’m surprised the fundamentalists don’t demand the bible be banned from the bookstore for this one.
Oh, and here’s one for the Christians in the women’s liberation movement, if there are any:
1 Timothy 2:15 – “But women will be preserved through the bearing of children….”
Maybe some sleazebag could use that verse as a basis for a new religion. Their mantra: “Keep the women pregnant, for it will save their souls.” But a regular preacher of an existing religion would preach unto his flock that verse at his own peril.
I could go on, of course. The bible is a huge compilation, chock full of misdeeds and pornography. But you get the idea. If you’re a churchgoer, challenge your minister to center his next sermon on one of these verses that strikingly highlight some of the bible’s R-rated content.