A sermon illustration

A sermon illustration August 30, 2019

Two-thirds of the surface of the earth is covered by water. So is one half of the surface of my basement.

This week’s incident had me nostalgic for the warm, clean comforts of the collapsing hot water heater from earlier this summer. That smelled a lot better than the stuff that was gurgling up out of our laundry room sink this week.

Happily, our friendly neighborhood plumber was able to locate the source of our main-line clog and relatively cheaply unclog it, so all the used water that’s supposed to be leaving the house is now, once again, leaving the house. All, that is, except for what remains in the basement. The water departs our homes comes from many different sources, but I’ve been trying not to think about that while cleaning up down there for the past few days.

All of which is to say two things: 1) Everyone should just be given a complimentary wet-dry shop-vac when they purchase a home, because those things are incredibly useful and necessary; and 2) I’m sorry for the dearth of posting here since Tuesday afternoon. Things in the basement are slowly getting dried out, tossed out, and/or disinfected, and I hope to resume a normal posting schedule here shortly, starting with a Left Behind Classic Friday post on, um, Saturday.

In the meantime, here is a picture of a weird tree from a little ways back in the woods behind our house.

Toward the top, the vine is wrapped around the tree. At the bottom, the tree has grown around the vine.

Having spent so many years in church, it’s impossible for me not to think of that tree as a ready-made, too-easy sermon illustration. I can hear the entire sermon based on the deformed symbiosis there between tree and vine — something about the effect of “sin in our lives.”

I’d probably agree with 90% of that sermon, too. The only disappointing bit would be the irrelevant trivia that many preachers would implicate as that insidious, creeping, choking, deforming “sin.” Seems a shame to waste such a fine naturally occurring metaphor on what would probably end up being a finger-wagging lecture about eschewing sexual lust by avoiding R-rated movies or some such.

If I were giving that sermon, the “sin in our lives” I’d focus on would be the relationship between white supremacy and the proof-texting concordance-driven hermeneutics of American-style “biblical Christianity” which has rendered us all as incapable of distinguishing one from the other as we are of distinguishing just where, exactly, this tree stops and the vine starts (or vice versa). Given that this sermon would focus on the near-simultaneous birth and growth of the Transatlantic slave trade and the accompanying unprecedented availability of popular English translations of the Bible, I suppose it’d be more of a history lesson than a sermon proper, but I would still try to work in the altar call at the end.

Anyway, sorry for the lack of posting. Please enjoy this cool picture while I head back downstairs to resume stuffing foul-smelling storage items into contractor bags. Consider this an open thread. (Like we don’t already consider everything an open thread).

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