Radio Show

Dealing with a Hurtful Sermon

A listener calls in with a question after attending the dedication of a friend’s baby in a Baptist church: “It was not a nice, happy occasion, [though it] should have been. But in the sermon, what came out of the pastor’s mouth was just horrendous. It was hate-filled, [mocking] all other religions … Catholics, Protestants, and Jewish people … and the concept of baptism … It was so unsettling. [The pastor’s] whole intent was not very Christian. My question is, how do I handle it [with my friends whose church this is]?”

Father Dave asks: “Would you imagine that [your friends], having heard that same sermon, would concur and say, ‘Rah rah, yeah he’s right,’ or would they also feel uncomfortable and embarrassed, particularly since they invited people and [their pastor is now] calling them out?” The caller says that she recognized their voices in the back of the church, and they seemed to be concurring, but she was so upset that she did not stay to talk to them about it afterward, saying, “I high-tailed it out of there.”

Not only is she hurt by what she heard, but she’s concerned that she will be invited to more events at this Baptist church as the child gets older, and she’s not sure she wants to put herself through that again. Father Dave suggests: “I would say exactly what you just said to me. Say, ‘That was really hurtful and offensive to me, and I love you guys, but I’m not sure I would be able to come and sit through that again, and I hope you can understand that. I would like to be here for your kids, but that is just uncalled for.’”

As a follow-up question, the caller says, “What would possess the pastor to preach something like that?”

“I love when people ask me that,” Father Dave says with a laugh, “For the benefit of the doubt, we would say that anybody who is passionate about something — certainly religion — oftentimes that passion goes along with the responsibility to right the world and to give people truth to [those that they] feel don’t have the truth. We see extreme examples of it in our society today, and we see terrorism that happens because of that, and we see wars happen because of that … So, I’m not justifying what he did, but when you ask what would cause [the pastor] to do that, I would say it’s because he believes [what he’s saying] is true. … Occasionally [even] when I get passionate about something [while preaching or talking on the radio], there are people that are offended by that.” (Original Air 05-31-17)