rules for preachers circa 1888, rule 2

Rule 2: “Be serious. Let your motto be, “Holiness unto the Lord.”  Avoid all lightness, jesting and foolish talking.”

I would have been fired in 1888.  The discipline is trying to communicate that their preachers should appear to be serious at all times, but that is simply not the way that God has wired me.  I think Jesus had a wicked sense of humor.

Part of the problem with clergy is that we appear, “holier than thou,” which is not very authentic.  Being “holy” is not the issue, the issue is self righteousness.   In 1888 people looked for authority in culture, authority was a lot more black and white than it is today.  Authority did not joke or speak out of turn.  And while we should never treat the gospel with lightness, I think it is important to build rapport with an audience.  I think one of the best ways to build rapport is if we all laugh together.

I do agree that the motto, “holiness unto the Lord” is a great motto and one that each person should adopt.  It is the recognition that we serve a Holy God who died and rose to life again in order that we might live with him.  He broke the power over of sin so that Holiness is not something that is unattainable.

How do you live out, “Holiness unto the Lord”?

What do you think about, “lightness, jesting & foolish talk”?



Post to Twitter

  • carolyn hudson

    I think I like a pastor who has a sense of humor. It conveys a joy in life. And some days we see so much sorrow and just bad stuff, that if we didn’t have a bit of lightness and humor, we would just curl up and hide under the covers. My pastor has a nice sense of humor and inserts funny stories and jokes (sometimes really bad ones) into his Sunday sermon. I have heard more than one person comment that it makes them feel closer to him and more like he is one of us than some”holier than thou” pastor up on a pedestal. It makes the sermons more personal and that opens people up to hear everything he says instead of just the high points.