Monday, March 10, 2008


A number of years ago, I got a game called Muldoon. I don't know if any of you have heard of it, or if it is even being sold anymore. I suspect it isn't, because I have done a quick Internet search (just now) and came up with nothing.

Anyway, the object of this game is to give contestants--however many may be playing; the more the merrier--a series of questions. They each record their answers on a piece of paper without their names. The game master then collects the papers and begins to read out the answers from one of the papers. The rest of the game participants try to guess who wrote the answers, and when they think they know, they yell MULDOON. (No, I don't know why Muldoon.) I think the person who was the least easiest to guess "wins." It is a fun game to play where you are trying to get to know people, an ice-breaker type game.

A sample question would be "Name something that you did within the past year that you have never done before."

Since this is my blog, I can't give you my answer and have you try to guess. Let's be fair--you know it's me writing the blog, so you should know it's my answer.

This is what my answer would be. . .this past Sunday, I preached in the church to which I belong. Several months ago, the pastor had asked if I would want to preach on the subject of disaster assistance, based on the national advisory committee work I do, so I said--sure. Of course, then the prospect was out in the future somewhere. We picked the date, March 9. And while I had some very distinct thoughts about what I might say, the actual preaching was off in the future.

I prepared my sermon--really very much like writing an essay--and then I practiced it reading it aloud to the pets! After the first read-through, I thought--oh my, that sounds so wooden . Not the way someone speaks aloud at all. I discovered that I am so accustomed to writing for the EYE, that I was not writing well for the EAR. So I began heavy duty editing. Writing sentences, reading them, rewording.

And then I practiced reading aloud several more times. To tell the truth, I was beginning to get bored with my words! So I stopped practicing. But I wasn't calm and assured that I was entirely prepared. Even with all the public speaking that I do--after all what is teaching in front of a class other than public speaking--I was really getting nervous. My stomach offered residence to hosts of passing butterflies!

Then Sunday morning, with my sermon in hand, I went to church. When I met up with our pastor, he said--I am so sick. So can you also read the Old Testament lesson as well. Sure. So I ended up with a full time in the pulpit.

Our pulpit (absent me!)

All the practice paid off--no stumbles, the words sounded normal, the way a person would talk.

But, am I ever glad that is over.

So, should I play Muldoon sometime in the next year, to the question--what have you done new in the past year--I will write down "I preached in my church."

So, what have you done new in the past year?


Anonymous said...

Congrats on doing something so cool.

In the last year, I lost enough weight to weigh less than I have in 30 years. I finished my teaching credential program. I got my first full-time teaching job. :) It's been a big year.

Anvilcloud said...

I played in my first concert.

Beth said...

Good for you! I bought a dishwasher. That's a first.

Not much else today, I'm too tired to think - but I am SO proud of you!!!

JeanMac said...

I'm so impressed!

Anonymous said...

So, what did I do new this past year? I started to let my beard grow. After all, my grandfather had one, my father had one, my son has one, two grandsons have one. Why can't I? But “preaching a sermon” what’s the big deal?

Seriously, though, whatever we do, preaching,teaching, “housewifeing” (spell check doesn’t like that word) or “househusbanding” (it doesn’t like that word either), growing beards, yes-- even pontificating, we should do to glorify God.
Father "C"

Mary said...

I am sure your audience was impressed as we are so impressed with your writing style! Good job, Donna!

KGMom said...

Liza Lee--as you say, a busy year indeed. All that, and remodeling, and children and a cute dog!

AC--good for you. I forget what you play, though.

Grace--goodness, with your busy schedule and your housefull of super active kids, how did you manage before without a dishwasher?

Jean--one small sermon is nothing compared to the life of service you are living.

Father C.--I was more nervous than I expected to be, but I did calm myself by saying--it's not about me; it's about the message.

Mary--I hope the people listening were more impressed with the subject than with the speaker!

Nora said...

I bet it was really interesting to have you give the sermon.....wish I was you shook things up a bit...perhaps you should do it on a regular basis..especially as it was something challenging to know ....face your fears and all. ;-) Each one of your blogs are some of the best writing on the web...I would like to see more, the book about Africa that I want.

simonr said...

Good for you! I do hope this doesn't sound patronising but I train people in public speaking and I just love to hear of people who speak because they have something to say...

.... so many of the people who come to me for training want to speak because the want to speak.


Climenheise said...

I heard some of the first half of the sermon, between preaching my own at a nearby retirment centre and listening to a group of young adults at our church sit in a semi-circle at the front of our sanctuary and discuss the meaning of worship. You sounded good! Not that I am at all surprised. Nor does the sense of apprehension surprise me: I retain that sense still, while preaching twice a month in a variety of settings. I suspect losing such nervousness leads to decreased effectiveness as a speaker.

What did I do new in the past year? I'm not at all sure. Perhaps taking Lois along on my itinerant jaunts. In the past we had other responsibilities in our own congregation that meant I travelled alone. This winter we have travelled together. It's good to have a critic with me who can tell if I'm pretending to preach and using the text in a kind of preacher's game, or if I am really listening to the text and seeking God's words in the process. It's wonderful to have her with me on drives through the northern countryside (Minnesota and North Dakota): wonderful winter driving with sun dogs and hoar frost and amazing big sky.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I went through the Winter without shovelling any snow!

I find it interesting that you found a sermon is not an essay. Sermons are spoken. It does make a difference.

Did you follow the first rule of sermonizing:
"Tell them what you are going to tell them. . . .tell them. . .then tell them what you told them."

People have trouble remembering more that three points. They need to be reinforced at least three times.

There are several other style of sermons. My favourite is making points with parables. I never was good at it myself.

Cathy said...

Oh boy. Those butterflies. That's why I dodge every opportunity not to have to open my mouth in public.

That was such a great idea to read to the fur-kids, first :0)

Gosh, Donna. I don't know what the heck i did for the first time. At 61 I think I'm getting cautious. Dang. I've got to remedy this.