2011 GREENBEAN BLOG REVIEW #4: RETRO SONGS AND SERMON TITLES

#4 on the countdown of 2011 most viewed Greenbean blogs is one I wrote about sermon titles from songs.  I also wrote another blog on the topic this year–MORE RETRO SONGS MAKE GREAT SERMON TITLES, but that one didn’t get the number of hits this one did.  On a tangential note I think a whole series of exclusively Elvis song titles could be coming.  Enjoy!

RETRO SONGS MAKE GREAT SERMON TITLES

Each December I plan my sermon preaching schedule—text or topic and series emphasis—for the entire coming year.  But I work on it all year, writing down ideas for the upcoming year.  So, I’m already thinking about what I might preach in 2012.  One of the things on my mind is the possibility of a series of topical sermons that have titles based on retro-songs.

1.  “Love Shack”—This B-52’s classic is a great title for talking about the way in which Christians should love one another.  Then the sermon could take a turn to describe exactly how this love is shown in the context of messy church life.

2.  “Living on a Prayer”—Bon Jovi sang about desperate times.  I’m thinking I could craft the sermon to be about how our everyday lives could be guided by prayers all along the way.  Waking prayers, devotional prayers, prayers said while grooming, prayers for work, prayers for noontime, prayers in the afternoon, prayers at dinner, and nighttime prayers.

3.  “Beat It” –The first music video I ever saw was Michael Jackson’s cautionary tale about fleeing from a dangerous situation.  I think this would be a great sermon about how to avoid sin and temptation.

4.  “Suspicious Minds”—Okay you know I had to get Elvis in there.  This could be a sermon about how trust is necessary in human relationships, particularly marriage.  I can easily see, though, extending it out to include parent-child relationships as well as to friendship.

5.  “Stairway to Heaven”—This one is easy.  First, some time could be spent unpacking some theological imagery already inherent in the song and then talk about how Jesus came to earth and that the cross sort of makes a stairway to heaven which allows us, through Christ’s sacrifice and our following him, to enter into heaven.

6.  “With or Without You”—Okay, I freely admit I could preach a sermon based on many U2 songs because many of them are theologically rich with obvious biblical connections.  But this one is the only one I would use in this series.  What I would do is focus on how God’s will and plan is doing with or without us.  Our greatest joy is to participate in his work and be a part of the celebration.

7.  “Welcome to the Jungle”—No retro list would be complete without something from G-N-R, right?  So this sermon would feature a description of the world as a spiritually dangerous place in which we must be careful.  Perhaps 1 John would be the best place to jump off of.

Whether I preach these or not I do not know.  Regardless, it was fun thinking about it.  Maybe its time to push play on my 80’s playlist on the old iPhone.

AMANDA KNOX AND MICHAEL JACKSON

Americans have always been captivated by high-profile trials and crimes, whether it is the Scopes Monkey Trial, The Al Capone Trial, or the O. J. Simpson trials we have shown ourselves captivated by jurisprudence.  Even the trial of Socrates still interests us.  Today that thought hit me as I traveled up and down the I-5 corridor to have lunch with a friend.  For a while I listened to my iPod (for those curious—Some Stones, G-N-R, a little Frank Sinatra) but then I turned to one of my favorite things to do—radio surfing.  I discovered that the whole world was talking about one of two things.

Thing One:  The Amanda Knox Trial. 

I really do not know if Amanda Knox is guilty or innocent, but I must admit it is captivating.  I’m torn over her conviction/release.  If she is guilty, the crime she committed is awful, but if she really is innocent, I can think of few things worse than being imprisoned overseas.  Once upon a time I entertained the thought of taking a church in British Columbia and one of the main reasons I didn’t was the advice I received from a friend:  Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness ends at the border.

Aside from the forensics of the case—that a person was brutally murdered—the whole situation regarding her release has been odd.  The media have been hounding her ever since she got out, and now they are apparently camped outside her home.  I hope she has enough sense not to go home.  Ironically, that is probably the one place she really wants to go to, but she shouldn’t.  If I were her, I’d find a quiet cabin far away from civilization and hunker down for a month or two.  That is all it will take for people to forget.

 

Thing Two:  The Michael Jackson Doctor Trial.

Is it sad that, even though I’ve heard all about this trial and all sorts of information about it, I do not know the doctor’s name?  I just know it is Michael Jackson’s doctor.  Apparently the case revolves around his care of the King of Pop, whether or not he killed him by overdosing him on the drug that killed him.  It is hard to tell, but the media seems to think he is guilty.  To me, that might mean he is innocent.  I do not trust the media to judge anything correctly.

The saddest part is  that even in death, Michael Jackson seems to have no peace.  I know that his life was a sordid celebrity explosion, swirling questions of child sexual abuse, and who knows what else, but death is usually the final word on such issues.  But the cult of celebrity is so strong in our culture (notice the striking similarities between the word “cult” and “culture”) even death does not end the dog and pony show.  Do not get me wrong, if the doctor is guilty he should be punished and put in prison.  But this hardly seems national media newsworthy.  How many other people will die today from medical malpractice?  Is Jackson’s life (and death) that much more important than anyone else’s?

 

There are so many other stories I’d love to hear about, but these salacious stories suck up all the air.  For example, I’ve not seen or heard much about protests on Wall Street, the looming demise of Rick Perry’s presidential bid, the drone killing of an American citizen overseas, or the quarreling in congress right now over funding the government.  Does anyone remember Afghanistan?  Libya?  Iran?  Israel?

Maybe news about trials are just a diversion for us so we don’t have to think about the things which have real impact on how we live.

RETRO SONGS MAKE GREAT SERMON TITLES

Each December I plan my sermon preaching schedule—text or topic and series emphasis—for the entire coming year.  But I work on it all year, writing down ideas for the upcoming year.  So, I’m already thinking about what I might preach in 2012.  One of the things on my mind is the possibility of a series of topical sermons that have titles based on retro-songs.

1.  “Love Shack”—This B-52’s classic is a great title for talking about the way in which Christians should love one another.  Then the sermon could take a turn to describe exactly how this love is shown in the context of messy church life.

2.  “Living on a Prayer”—Bon Jovi sang about desperate times.  I’m thinking I could craft the sermon to be about how our everyday lives could be guided by prayers all along the way.  Waking prayers, devotional prayers, prayers said while grooming, prayers for work, prayers for noontime, prayers in the afternoon, prayers at dinner, and nighttime prayers.

3.  “Beat It” –The first music video I ever saw was Michael Jackson’s cautionary tale about fleeing from a dangerous situation.  I think this would be a great sermon about how to avoid sin and temptation. 

4.  “Suspicious Minds”—Okay you know I had to get Elvis in there.  This could be a sermon about how trust is necessary in human relationships, particularly marriage.  I can easily see, though, extending it out to include parent-child relationships as well as to friendship.

5.  “Stairway to Heaven”—This one is easy.  First, some time could be spent unpacking some theological imagery already inherent in the song and then talk about how Jesus came to earth and that the cross sort of makes a stairway to heaven which allows us, through Christ’s sacrifice and our following him, to enter into heaven.

6.  “With or Without You”—Okay, I freely admit I could preach a sermon based on many U2 songs because many of them are theologically rich with obvious biblical connections.  But this one is the only one I would use in this series.  What I would do is focus on how God’s will and plan is doing with or without us.  Our greatest joy is to participate in his work and be a part of the celebration.

7.  “Welcome to the Jungle”—No retro list would be complete without something from G-N-R, right?  So this sermon would feature a description of the world as a spiritually dangerous place in which we must be careful.  Perhaps 1 John would be the best place to jump off of.

Whether I preach these or not I do not know.  Regardless, it was fun thinking about it.  Maybe its time to push play on my 80’s playlist on the old iPhone.