Friday, February 19, 2010

"this is only a test"

I was dumb enough, when called upon to preach in Peru (you can watch a snippet of the sermon on the YouTube clip at bottom), to retool a sermon I had done at home.

Don't do it.

If I had to do it over again, I would preach:

1)> in Spanish (though Ken is amazing..he is the only one I know who can translate for me...Once I was speaking in the Dominican Republic with him translating...see photo here...and see the see the look on Rev Kev's face...and arms... as he listens...he's waiting for the translation, which took longer than my original..and he kept up with my Spiritaneous coining of words..he's the man).

The risk I took in Paraguay paid off (I stepped out preching en espanol...Ken wasn't there)..and the risk was hilarious and huge (see this story, and photo of me doing it below)

2)>another message, a fresh one.

I have learned a lot about preaching by teaching preaching..
...and by not doing it so well.
...and by not practicing what I preach or practicing preaching.
---and by what I learned the other day about my Spanish translation skills (see "Eye See Two Gringos")

What called to mind the Peru sermon today was Dan Siver's post, which was titled the same as my sermon:

"This is only a test."

One of my illustrations in the original (North American) sermon was the old Emergency Broadcast System's "This is only a test" TV/radio announcements. I was not dumb enough to
use that story in
South America...where they had obviously never heard that broadcast.

But to even ask "Who REALLY likes taking tests" a congregation among whom many had never taken one...I just need to practice what I preach and be more culturally sensitive, incarnational/indigineous, centered-set; and less accidentally didn't "translate."
(Even though all translation is betrayal..)

Watch me preach from 4:58-6:51...if only to see some masterful and hilarious translation moments by Ken.

BESIDES...check out (6:16 in the video) Tarzan Tom's comment (from the peanut gallery/pews) as he is filming the sermon..He's right ("they look like Thing One and Thing Two up

I feel like a dork watching myself

preach on video/listening to my bad self on radio.

But then I read Siver's post (Gee, how many pastors link to Sivers' blog on their blogroll...but that's not the only "unobvious" link you see on my sidebar!) , and I am ready to try again:

This is only a test. See what happens:
Growing up in America in the 1970's, the TV or radio would often turn into a long warning BEEEEEP. At the end, an announcer would say, “This is a test. This is only a test.”

Remember that phrase when pursuing your career.

It often feels like everything is so serious - that if you make one mistake, it will all end in disaster. But really everything you do is just a test: an experiment to “see what happens”.

My favorite times in life have often started with a “see what happens” spirit.

Let's see what happens if I run my vocals through my guitar pedals.

See what happens if I invite that famous producer out to lunch.

See what happens if I call that radio station to ask their advice.

There is no failure. There can't be, if your only mission was to “see what happens”.

This is a test. This is only a test. There is no downside. Try everything.


Graham Cooke often says something like, "You don't flunk a test from God. You just get the grace to take it over, and over, and over..."

Gee, how do you say that in Spanish?

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