As a Pastor, I have often wondered why a few people can sit under preaching Sunday after Sunday and never seem to be stirred, moved or motivated. I have been in enough conversations with other Pastors, to realize that this is a malady that is found in all Churches. The preaching can expose the very Word of God in a soul convicting broadside, yet those few sit there as though they do not hear what is being said, or have some weird way of interpreting what they hear. Oh, I know that many people have the unique ability to pass what they hear over their shoulder to the fellow behind them and some people have their minds on the slow cooker at home, or what kind of bait they will buy that afternoon.
The pastor normally bares his heart and voices his convictions as he stands behind the pulpit and usually the congregation can pretty well know him inside and outside in a short period of time. It is true that if the pastor continually rides a hobby-horse of some kind, the congregation as a whole can just turn him off and daydream of other things. That kind of pastor doesn't last very long because he runs out of material and subjects.
Anyway the current running news items about Rev. Wright and his star Church member is possibly living proof that a person can sit Sunday after Sunday under a preacher and actually never hear what the preacher says! I mean 20 years of preaching the subject matter that Rev. Wright has been taped and videoed preaching. Any preacher who has viewed the sound and video bytes, knows that the Rev. Wright was used to preaching those types of sermon. He very obviously has a problem with a white run government and he doubtless has some kind of complex that the whites are abusing the blacks.
His Church is "unashamedly black"and I suppose any white person that wandered in would feel ostracized fairly obvious. Any white person who stayed would have to be one of those folk who can sit and not hear the sermon, just like that star member.
Now we are not talking about people in a town who just pick out a Church in town and imagine themselves to be a member of that Church! I have ran across one such a person on door to door visitation who said he was a member of my Church before I told him which Church I pastored. It was fun to watch him wiggle out of that one. I am talking about a person who attended regularly when he wasn't in Washington D.C. liberalizing Congress. Any astute student of politics knows that Congressmen and Senators spend more time in their districts than they do in Washington. At least that is where they are supposed to be. So I am sure this star member spent enough time in his Church and around his pastor to know what was being taught and preached. Unless he is one of those Church members who could sit in a preaching service and be completely oblivious to what was being said. He must have felt uneasy to have personal conversations with the pastor. He must have never felt comfortable to invite the pastor into his home. He must have never invited the pastor out to coffee and donuts at Dunkins. He may have never sought spiritual counsel on his private life or his political ambitions.
There is not even any indication that he called his pastor on the phone to question or discuss what the sermon subject meant.
There definitely was no occasion when the stinking attitudes of that pastor was brought up by that star member.
One more thing.
There are a good number of people in any congregation who agree with everything that the pastor preaches but are reticent to be public about it. They are not prone to pass it on until one day they have a stump that they can use, or they find themselves in a position to stand up and be counted.
I wonder what it would be to have a President who suddenly was given the power to put to action what their pastor or husband told them to do.