For when it shall come to pass that thou shalt really need to pull on the heart strings of the congregation and launch upon them such a guilt trip as is usually reserved for the Faith Promise Banquet, then shalt thou hasten to dust off the Favorite Bible Story. For (psalms of imprecation notwithstanding) there are few things that doth really fill the altars and the offering plates and the church cleaning volunteer list as a Bible Story fitly spoken in due season. And the telling of it shall be thus…
Thou shall in no wise pick one of the particularly juicy stories which is full of enough bloodshed and incest and general debauchery to put even the particularly licentious episodes of A Game of Thrones to shame. For these are Baptists and have not gathered here for titillation but rather for condemnation — for they are verily gluttons for punishment. But instead thou rehearse again and again the same stories of Jonah,Daniel,Elijah, and David being sure to leave out all the best bits which shall raise all kinds of uncomfortable questions about whether the hero of the tale is really a hero at all.
For it is well known among preachers and teachers and other various other story-tellers of all shapes and sizes that carefully hidden in every Bible story is The Moral. And this Moral is a bit of homespun wisdom which the teacher must every so carefully tease out from among the story details — even when it is so subtle in the text as to be almost non-existent. And The Moral will verily show the listener that he hath in no wise measured up to the characters in the story and shall in all likelihood receive that tragic end that is meet for being so pathetic. Also thou shalt spare not to use these stories to warn against all manner of modern entertainments, technologies, and jocularities such like the people in Bible times never even dreamed of.
So that when the hero has slain the giant or tumbled down the walls or slain the hosts of Midian then shall the teacher look upon the wondering eyes of the listeners and say in a loud voice “SO WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH YOU LOSERS THAT YOU HAVEN’T DONE COOL STUFF LIKE THIS TOO?”. And then shall every heart quake with guilt and self-loathing such that nobody will begin to wonder whether all these things were put in the Bible just to make us all feel bad or if there might be some larger point about God himself and who He is. And then shall thou close in prayer
For thou must always bear in remembrance that whatsoever can be moralized can be manipulated. And whatsoever can be manipulated shall be put forth to teach law instead of grace. For too much grace is an incredibly dangerous thing.
Independent Baptist Book of Everlasting Rules and Requirements pp 7-8
Posted by Darrell