Jonah in 3

Last Fall I got to preach on Jonah.  I don’t think it was a bad sermon, but I would do a lot differently.  If it is not my series, I need 2 extra hours to prepare – good lesson.

If I could re-do it…

1.  Relentlessly Pursuing God (Jonah, the Ninevites, the Sailors)

2.  If we read the Bible the way we watched sit-coms we would get more out of it.  We actually turn some part of our brain off when we read the stories – expecting them to state, in propositional form, some truth.  Key Example Here: If we were watching a well done movie or TV version we would slap our forehead over and over as Jonah did dumb things.  We would yell, “Why are they throwing him over the boat!?  Jonah, just repent, take the sailors with you!”

3.  Jonah’s big problem (and he knows it – after all, he wrote the book) is that he wants to own his own sin.  This is the Good News – that we don’t have to.  This gets at the hardest religious part of the Gospel – that we can’t.  I can’t control.  When I ask someone for forgiveness it is a strange, deep, relational, intimate move that implies a lack of power and control.  Have you ever asked someone who doesn’t know about forgiveness (Either from the irreligious ‘its not a big deal’ to the religious ‘just say you won’t ever do it again’)?  It is pretty awkward to repent to them.  I tried with a referee once after a particularly bitchy basketball game…  This particular Ref was also in Guiding Light in the 90’s.

I wish I could own my own sin.  I am so thankful I do not have to.  I wish I could save other people.  I don’t have 1% of the strength necessary to save even one…

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