I subscribed to a curious little publication called Geez a few months ago.  It’s a Canadian publication with the very interesting tagline of “holy mischief in an age of fast faith”.  It sounded kind of cool, and I was looking for a new magazine to subscribe to, so I gave it a shot.

The first issue I received was an issue dedicated to discussion of art and, to a lesser extent, art and faith.  Since I have a small interest in that area, it was cool enough, though at times clearly aimed at folks who do art for a living.  The second issue I received was dedicated to “30 Sermons You’d Never Hear in Church”.  It was actually a contest that I considered entering but didn’t.  I started to read the issue eagerly.  I finished it far less eagerly and quite disappointed. 

Today I received an e-mail letting me know my subscription was almost up.  Since I’m a believer in constructive criticism as a tool for improvement, here was my response:

The reason I’m not resubscribing is that I was really taken aback with your last issue (30 Sermons You’ll Never Hear in Church).  The concept was really cool, and I was really looking forward to it.  However, I expected the sermons to be somehow Christian.  Or faithful.  But they seemed to be 30 sermons of varying degrees of doubt, uncertainty, or complete lack of God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit in them at all.  You included a sermon from an atheist, and yet there wasn’t one confident proclamation of God at work in our world in any of the other sermons.  Not one confident proclamation of the saving grace we find in Jesus Christ, in the cross and the empty tomb and the physical signs of a God at work in our world, at work in a creation that He didn’t abandon on the eighth day. 
I get the whole postmodern doubt thing.  It’s nothing new, but of course we all think it is because it’s new to *us*.  Doubt is all well and good, and we have the story of Didymus to remind us that Jesus meets us in our doubt.  But doubt is not a sermon.  Doubt is something a sermon attempts to address.  To acknowlede.  To empathize with.  To lock arms with.  And to carry that doubt to the cross and the empty tomb and a tradition of faith that goes back not just to Jesus, but also to the Israelites, to some random guy named Abraham, and before that, all the way to some idyllic place called Eden and this groovy couple who couldn’t seem to remember one commandment, let alone ten of them.  And  in the process of that journey, provide something to find confidence in, not simply more echoes of doubt.
Include some sermons of doubt.  Include some sermons that bare the naked fear of that doubt.  That bare the naked horror of what that doubt leads us towards.  That’s cool.  But if those are the only sermons that you felt were useful enough to print, then I guess maybe your magazine isn’t the right one for me.  I deal with doubt every day.  The doubt of people around me as well as my own.  Christian community – in person or through a magazine – should be more than just an opportunity to wallow in doubt.  It should be a bona fide prayer, and steps in faith and trust despite that doubt, that the Holy Spirit is here, real, active, and ready to meet us in our doubt and lead us to firmer ground. 
Blessings to you & your staff as you continue your efforts with Geez.  There are lots of folks I hope you can reach.  I’m just not sure what you’ll say to them when you reach them.

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