In the Spring of 1998, I spoke at my second national conference.
In the introduction to the message I delivered that year, I fleetingly mentioned that psychologists have studied the developmental stages of human life, using this fact as an illustration for what followed. The rest of the 45-minute talk was about Jesus Christ and how He’s building His church today.
After I finished, a 45-minute Q & A followed.
The first person who asked me a question was a woman (about 30 years my senior at the time). She spoke for about a minute, telling us all about the evils of psychology.
She then ended with a question asking me why I mentioned psychology in my talk.
I answered briefly, mentioning what clinical psychologists do in their research, and then went on to the other questions, which were all on point.
But I was floored.
I had spent 45 minutes declaring the greatness of Christ and talking about the glories of His church, and all she heard was a 20-second remark about psychology in the beginning. That’s what was on her mind.
As I’ve shared the conference platform with others over the years, I’ve painfully discovered that this sort of thing is not uncommon. In fact, it goes back quite a long ways.
Dr. George Stewart was one of the great preachers of his time. In his day, the word “britches” (which now means trousers) had a negative connotation. It wasn’t regarded as a cuss word or profane. Just negative.
When Stewart finished one of his sermons, a woman walked up to him and said, “Dr. Stewart, I cannot understand why a man of your dignity, grace, and sophistication used the word ‘britches’ in your sermon.”
Steward replied, “Can you tell me what I said just before I said britches?”
She said no.
He continued, “Can you tell me what I said after I said britches?”
She said no.
Stewart then said, “If I hadn’t said britches, you wouldn’t have remembered anything I said.”
I know we’re all different, but I cannot understand – for the life of me – how a Christian can hear a message on Jesus Christ, and when it’s all over, only hear one fleeting word from an illustration.
To my mind, this is a case of straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel . . . zeroing in on one insignificant thing and tuning everything else out.
It goes along with my previous post that Christians are the most easily offended people on the planet.
When I think about such things, the image I get is that of the Lord Jesus Christ descending from the heavens in great glory with a plethora of heavenly angels, returning to earth after thousands of years. And once He sets His feet on the ground, two Christians begin arguing over which foot landed first.
All told, for you up-and-coming speakers and writers, welcome to the ministry.
You will see this kind of thing more than once.
I share more thoughts in the comments.