Avoid alliteration in sermons

Yesterday, one Journey paragraph mentioned alliteration. Can we say another word on that? Maybe there was a day when a topical sermon was effective with the key words or points all beginning with the same letter. I have my doubts about that today. I’ve done alliterative sermon points. Used to. Can’t remember the last one, however, since my sermons now are almost all textual and expository. Again, who hasn’t heard sermons where the words are forced so they’ll fit a scheme? One man’s opinion here is that alliteration ought to be retired in sermons. Has gotten too gimmicky. (I’m braced for the preachers’ reprisals.)

I was distressed to read a brother in our state, in his congregational bulletin, promoting the celebration of Christmas by the church. After all, he said, we celebrate Mother’s Day and Children’s Day in our meetings. He sounded awfully confused making that defense. Either that, or they’re doing some very strange things in that congregation.

I confess to growing tired of articles against the collective religious celebration of Christmas. But there’s still a need for it, apparently. Protestants in their protesting phase rejected instrumental music for worship, railed against Catholic special observances, dispatched Christmas as a hidden pagan celebration, among other good objections. Now, they love to toot that Jesus is the “reason for the season.” They didn’t get that from the Bible. And some of our brethren are getting the reason idea from them. Or from previously infected brethren.

Now, for something lighter. Like Alan Smith’s “Thought for the Day” on “Good and Perfect Gifts.” And watch for a poem on this site by Grace Noll Crowell. And one of mine.

After four days of writing the daily Bible reading commentaries, I’m fairly pleased at the results. Nothing heavy or academic, just a rundown of the chapters. Today’s comments cover 1 Thes. 2, coming in at 1500 words plopped down on paper (figuratively speaking) this morning. If you find some problems in the treatment of the text, please let me know.

Thanks to Michael Hite for adding our “Walking with God” blog (You Are Here) to his list of “Blogs I think you should be following.” He and Dale Jenkins also mentioned it and The Fellowship Room Dec. 15 on “Ministry Geek This Week.” Thanks, guys!

We’ll not be able to tell until well after the holidays, since snail mail is, well, snailish, between the U.S. and Brazil, especially so this time of year, but it seems the volume of dead-tree Christmas cards (that means non-virtual, printed with real paper and ink) is down from previous years. (Not that the volume was ever great.) Part of that may be that we’re no longer new in the public mind, being the decrepit veterans that we are, but my bet is that the Internet is the greatest culprit. I say culprit, but we’ve also gone that route, our card is now virtual, posted here on our blog. I appreciate those print cards, they’re special, but I know that, even though ours and others’ may be virtual, the sentiments are still very real. Merry!

3 Replies to “Avoid alliteration in sermons”

  1. Had a preacher friend who used “memory” glue, all topics started with the same letter. Cute idea, but lacked a substantive reason. I also dislike alliteration in prose. There are some writers who use it as a matter of their usual style.

  2. So far we’ve received a grand total of two Christmas cards – 1 from the states, and 1 from a local family. Out of sight, out of mind, I suppose. It’s not very wise for us to spend what it would take to mail a bunch from Tanzania to the U.S., so email greetings will have to suffice for us, as well. The internet will never replace the personal touch that snail mail brings. I miss it.

What do you think?