30
Dec
08

Too Offended By the Nails

crucifixionThis past Sunday, our pastor did a “Cannon Sunday” service.

I’d never heard the term before, but apparently it refers to the Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s, during which attendance is traditionally so low that you could fire a cannon over the pews and not hit anyone.

So, no formal sermon, no choir, the normal music director wasn’t the one playing the organ.

Figures that it would be a pretty heavy attendance that day.

But, that’s not my point. I’m going tangential on you. Point is that instead of a sermon, the pastor answered questions handed in from the congregation and randomly selected from the pile. Sort of a town-hall style sermon.

One of those questions wasn’t really a question, and it went something like this:

I am so offended by the image of those railroad nails being driven through Jesus’ hands and feet that I cannot get past the the pain and suffering and refuse to partake of the Lord’s Supper.

I don’t get this. The pastor, for his part, deftly honored the person’s question instead of calling him or her out as a flaming dipwad, and mentioned how it shows sensitivity and compassion to so hate the image of crucifixion and the suffering it entailed.

Now, I can get down with that point, of course. We rarely spend enough time truly understanding and appreciating how much Jesus suffered. This wasn’t some simple execution and not some simple form of torture. Crucifixion remains one of the most excruciating and prolonged methods of killing a person that there is.

That said, the person who handed in the question is still a flaming dipwad.

Sorry if that seems harsh. But it’s how I feel. Honestly.

Because, you see, before he died, Jesus told us to remember him through the Lord’s Supper. Or rather, our imitation of it. Our symbolic representation of it. He called upon us to break bread in his memory, as a remembrance of his soon-to-be-broken body, and to eat that bread as a symbol of taking him into our lives. And we were to drink wine in the same manner as a remembrance of the blood he was shedding as part of the new covenant with God.

He exhorted us to take that bread during worship. It is one of the ways we honor Jesus.

To refuse to take Communion, Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper—whatever you call it in your Christian denomination or specific church—is a kind of insult, I think. To say that you are so offended by the crucifixion of our savior that you cannot honor what amounted to his dying request…well, it is silliness at best, and ignorant at worst.

Remember that Jesus paid the price for us. He suffered for us. He told us we would often suffer in his name, but we never have to suffer as much as he did. Nothing we can go through can equal the crucifixion plus bearing all of our sins and having his own heavenly father have to turn His back and cut off the connection between them for a time.

The least we can do is eat a piece of bread without getting caught up in some overblown and, to me, somewhat insincere indignation over what he suffered.

Jesus knew what he was getting into. Let’s respect that, not put such a sharp focus on his suffering that we lose sight of what he wants us to do. And to feel. And to be.

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10 Responses to “Too Offended By the Nails”


  1. 1 societyvs
    December 30, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    I like communion – the concept – I am not a fan of how churches do it. Its so impersonal and individual that it takes the community aspect out of church (which is the norm). Shouldn’t this little rememberance be a supper for all to partake in – a sharing of one and all. Are we not symbolically the body also? When the body comes together it should share with one another – like a celebratory meal of sorts. I think communion in its original instances was this type of thing.

  2. 2 Deacon Blue
    December 30, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    I agree that it often loses that “loving feeling.” One of the problems of many churches is the sheer size of things. It’s hard to do communion efficiently and yet do it in a community fashion. Probably could be done with a little thinking outside the box, but that’s hard for the congregation as well as the church leadership. We all get so comfortable in routines, and it’s often only the smallest churches that can work well with non-traditional approaches, I find.

  3. December 30, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    Your pastor should have said “Flaming Dipwad! Get tthee behind me!” LOL. Some people get off on Cruxifiction porn. They like the idea “of a wretch like me.” I’m not worthy! That’s what peeves me about religion. What a horrible mental state to live in–I’m an unworthy wretch and God’s gonna deal with me.

    Imagine if we preached that we were so special, so dear to God, He went to Hell and back to love us. Same story, different mental state.

    But then we’d be walking around with self-esteem and feeling good about ourselves and treating everybody like we would want to be treated–well– and jackleg preachers couldn’t raise money for the building fund.

  4. 4 Deacon Blue
    December 31, 2008 at 12:02 am

    Hadn’t thought of it quite like that Kellybelle, but I agree with ya.

    There are far too many people who focus on the negative. Now, myself, I do feel pretty crummy a lot of times about my failings with God, but I also balance that with the knowledge that He loves me as a parent…more so, in fact. But as much as I tout that we are sinful folk and fall short of God’s intentions for us, I still tend toward the positive. That fact that there is something worthy God wishes to tap in all of us and that is what makes it worthwhile.

    I don’t know why anyone would want to get off on whipping themselves, but emotional masochism does it for some folks…

    (Just for the record, by the by, our pastor DID point out that this individual and other like him/her should not let such feelings get in the way of taking the Lord’s Supper. He found a very nice way to say, “get over it” without saying it as such.)

  5. December 31, 2008 at 11:57 am

    That said, the person who handed in the question is still a flaming dipwad.(Deacon)

    Well Deac……Im going to be a bigger Dipwad. As far as suffering goes theres people in the world now who get 70 times what Jesus got and you know what, on top of that they wont even go to Heaven by most Christian standards because they didnt believe in Jesus. The story of Jesus’s Sacrifice doesnt resonate with everyone the way it resonates with Christians, so sorry to point out that fact.

  6. 6 Deacon Blue
    December 31, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Tit for Tat,

    I don’t expect Jesus’ death to resonate with you.

    But look at it from my perspective of faith.

    Because I believe that Jesus died for all of our sins, that means I believe he not only suffered physically but spiritually as well, bearing all sins past, present and future.

    Also, he had enjoyed a direct connection to God spiritually and God had to cut him off (“Why have you foresaken me”) when Jesus bore those sins.

    Furthermore, Jesus had to go to Hell for three days despite not having done anything himself to deserve going there, except that it was necessary to obtain the “keys to Hell and death.”

    If you re-read my post, you will see that I didn’t just focus on his physical suffering but the WHOLE PACKAGE DEAL, which would indeed be far, far, FAR worse than anything anyone can suffer on this Earth.

    You, Tit for Tat are NOT a flaming dipwad in this case.

    And that is because you are not a member of the faithful.

    The person who handed in the question IS a flaming dipwad, because that person entered into the faith and remains in the faith (presumably) based on a belief in Jesus as the son of God. So, this person is refusing to do something they are called upon to do, for a bullshit reason.

    I hope that clears things up.

    This post is all about Christian perspective and a flawed Christian attitude…not an attempt to downplay the suffering of people on Earth.

  7. December 31, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Deacon

    Ah point taken. Hope you and the family had a great Christmas, and hope you have a Great New Year. Dont imbibe too much. 😉

    John

  8. 8 Deacon Blue
    December 31, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Thank you sir, and may you and yours have a fine remainder of the holiday season as well.

    For my part, imbibing will be sparkling apple cider at midnight…at home.

    No, not a teatotaller by any means. I hardly ever get a chance to drink, but I do like me my microbrews and sometimes wines. Just don’t like to go out on New Year’s at all. Heck, even before Little Girl Blue arrived, I was starting to feel too old for all that.
    😉

  9. January 2, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Yeah, dipwad is a good word for that person. Do they think taking Lord’s Supper is somehow saying what Jesus suffered is a good thing? That just doesn’t follow for me.

    That service sounds really interesting. Did they request the questions beforehand, or that day at church?

  10. 10 Deacon Blue
    January 2, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    The question sheets were handed out as people entered church (we were late, so we missed our chance to get one). So, the pastor was winging it as he went along. He’s pretty good at that, actually. We have a part of the service where he always invites people to offer or ask for prayers, and when someone does, he’s pretty damn quick on his feet to say what needs to be said in an almost-always diplomatic fashion, and usually tied to the Word somehow.

    As for the huge pile of questions still unanswered, he says he’ll use a lot of them for inspiration on future sermons, and tell us when his sermons are based on one of those questions. As he put it, it makes a lot more sense to talk about things that are weighing on the minds of the congregation than to impose his sermon desires on us.


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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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