The pastor said a good way to remember a sermon and read our Bibles is take notes and ask questions, something I've always told the boys to do when reading a book. Before saying this, the pastor gave an illustration which had a super plot line prompting a book title to pop into my head. I opened my purse and dug around for something to write on - a grocery list - and pulled out a pen. "Life On Mars"...
"Life In A Jar"..."Mind Games." Just a few minutes later the pastor mentioned the thing about listening or reading with a pencil. And then I felt stupid because I wasn't taking notes but was writing down imaginary book titles, spurred on by his sermon but having nothing whatsoever to do with the sermon. I think.
I used to take notes and notes and more notes during sermons. Visiting preachers were always an eyeopener. One could tell immediately how organized or relaxed the speaker was by taking down his sermon. Some lacked any real outline just rambling along and then reigned it all in by nailing down three points to finish. Others were meticulous in form. Anal. Their wives tended to look removed or wide-eyed. Our regular pastor's style was to shout and repeatedly read the same huge sections of scripture in the same sermon. Once GG's visiting uncle who had a gimpy leg got really perturbed and stompity limped out of the service. He hadn't cooled down any even after waiting half an hour for the preaching to finally end. "How many times does he have to holler the same thing over and over?! And over!"
Anyhow, I wrote very fast. The key to getting all the references down correctly was to write them backwards. Verse, chapter then book. I could remember Romans. Remembering all the numbers that came after was the stumbling block for my non-numerical mind. Eventually, I wrote so fast that a few times I wrote the next thing the preacher said before he said it. It was then I stopped taking notes.
Who was doing the thinking here? Why was I writing ninety miles an hour? Did everything he said need to be noted? So I slowed down and paid attention in other ways - like to what was going on around us - and then started asking more questions. Until finally, we were handed a letter telling us to leave. There was a very long time when I couldn't even pick up a Bible without my stomach turning, never mind note taking. And that is some of what I was thinking this morning in church.
(Photos by Fun. There are good articles here on reading the Bible after bad church experiences. Apologies this was a heavy today.)
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