I had an interesting conversation with my ex-husband and his wife last night. I wrote a sermon for class and got a good grade - but the professor's feedback was that it conveyed a lot of anger in a sermon about love. I got other feedback that didn't mention anger at all. I have been wrestling with this feedback for several weeks now, and trying to figure out if I should or shouldn't tweak it to make it somehow more accessible.
Of course I know that once you say something out loud, people are going to take it in a variety of ways, but this particularly interested me. The professor said that my sermon would alienate people who were already against my topic. :::shrug::: I doubt that anyone firmly entrenched in position is easily swayed by even calm, well-reasoned conversation either.
In any event, our conversation last night was about whether there's a place for some righteous indignation or even anger in a sermon. David's impression was that UU sermons tend to be too conciliatory (that's not the word he used, but I think that's the idea) and that a little well placed passion can be motivating for a congregation to hear.
What think you? What kind of sermon motivates you? Do you feel offended by your minister being ticked off about a social justice issue?