Posts Tagged ‘Jerry Seinfeld’

Sermon 12-06-15: “Reel Christmas Classics, Part 2: A Christmas Story

December 7, 2015

christmas_story

This sermon, illustrated using clips from the 1983 film “A Christmas Story,” is mostly about greed: our sinful tendency to desire far less than what God wants to give us. But it’s also about the gospel of Jesus Christ, which, in a way, also comes through in this movie. 

Scripture: Luke 15:11-24

[To listen on the go, right-click here to download an MP3.]

The following is my original sermon manuscript. The video clips from A Christmas Story that were shown in the service are included. Please note: The first two minutes of my sermon video are missing, due to operator error. 🙄 For the missing part, refer to the manuscript.

How many of us grown-ups don’t feel a pang of nostalgia when we see that? I do! We remember what it’s like to desire one great toy for Christmas… If only Santa or our parents could give us one great toy for Christmas. It’s a wonderful feeling—desiring something. It’s an emotion, of course, that marketers and advertisers exploit very well. Just a year ago, comedian Jerry Seinfeld received an honorary Clio Award. A “Clio” is the equivalent of the Academy Awards for the advertising industry. And the words of his acceptance speech were brutally honest and deeply cynical, in a way that surely made advertising industry executives in his audience squirm in their seats. He said:

I love advertising because I love lying. In advertising, everything is the way you wish it was. I don’t care that it won’t be like that when I actually get the product being advertised because in between seeing the commercial and owning the thing, I’m happy, and that’s all I want… We know the product is going to stink. We know that. Because we live in the world and we know that everything stinks. We all believe, ‘Hey, maybe this one won’t stink.’ We are a hopeful species. Stupid but hopeful.

I’m sure Seinfeld is exaggerating here. I doubt he believes that “everything stinks” in the world; I certainly don’t. I don’t even believe that the Christmas gifts we desire will inevitably let us down. But I do agree with Seinfeld to this extent: Everything in the world has the potential of stinking. Why? Because of sin. It infects everything, and it’s everywhere. And it certainly has the ability to corrupt our desires, to confuse us about what we really need to be happy, to be satisfied. There’s nothing at all wrong with Ralphie desiring this Red Ryder BB gun, just as there’s nothing wrong with our wanting things. But the question is, why do we think we need them? What do we think possessing them is going to do for us? Read the rest of this entry »

Sermon 12-07-14: “The Piercing of Mary’s Soul”

December 22, 2014
This is the third part of my Advent series, which draws upon themes from Hamilton's new book.

This is the second part of my four-part Advent series, which draws upon themes from Hamilton’s new book.

Simeon told Mary that a “sword will pierce your own soul,” by which he was prophesying about Mary’s experience standing at the foot of the cross. That sword isn’t just for Mary, however. As we come face to face with the destructive power of sin in our lives, we, too, will feel that sword’s sharp edge.

Sermon Text: Luke 2:33-35

The following is my original sermon manuscript.

Last week, comedian Jerry Seinfeld received an honorary Clio award. The Clios are like the Oscars for the advertising industry. And Seinfeld raised some eyebrows with his brutally honest acceptance speech. He said:

I love advertising because I love lying. In advertising, everything is the way you wish it was. I don’t care that it won’t be like that when I actually get the product being advertised because in between seeing the commercial and owning the thing, I’m happy, and that’s all I want… We know the product is going to stink. We know that. Because we live in the world and we know that everything stinks. We all believe, ‘Hey, maybe this one won’t stink.’ We are a hopeful species. Stupid but hopeful.

Ouch. Just in time for this crazy orgy of consumerism that we call the holiday shopping season! Talk about a wet blanket! Who wants to hear that all these great new things we’re buying for others or hoping to receive ourselves won’t really live up to expectations… will only disappoint, will… stink? Who invited him to the party? Read the rest of this entry »

“Because we live in the world, and we know that everything stinks”

December 8, 2014

The following is the speech I made reference to in yesterday’s sermon—Jerry Seinfeld accepting his honorary Clio award. Profoundly good, if misanthropic. While everything in the world doesn’t stink—and I’m sure he’s employing hyperbole—everything in our world that human beings touch is tainted by sin. And that does stink. As Solzhenitsyn said (which I quoted in the sermon), “The line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.”