Thursday, December 6, 2007

Mars, Venus and me

So Sunday marked the first time that a woman has ever given a sermon at Imago. I didn't find this to be a particularly big deal, which is almost definitely because I wasn't raised in a slow-moving church culture. Apparently it is kind of a big deal (much like Ron Burgundy).

Anyway, I bring this up because I noticed a striking gender difference in the way Sunday's sermon was received (at least among my friends). Some of the ladies I talked to mentioned that "it was so amazing", that they "loved the message so much" and that "you could feel there a special energy in the audience today." When I talked to guys about this...let's just say I don't recall hearing anything about a "special energy" in the air.

To be completely honest, the sermon gave me more trouble than usual. I understood the basic thesis statement: God is with us. He's with us all the time. This is a good thing. This makes all the difference in our lives. I do feel like I missed the deeper meaning, which is troublesome.

I've had a few days to ponder why and here's what I've come up with:

If you buy into the whole "most women and men communicate differently" thing -- and I do -- you probably also buy into the idea that women tend to talk more about feelings and are more inclined to want the listener to read between the lines. Thing is, I'm not good at reading between the lines. I like things to be straightforward and linear. Basically I want each sermon to be a big outline. What had never previously occurred to me is that, with having only heard male-style sermons before, I was really only being exposed to one way of presenting the information.

Which means I hadn't thought for even two seconds about how difficult it must be for women to always have to cross-over to the male communication style for sermons,
Which means I'm plainly not thinking about how others perceive things,
Which means I'm only thinking of myself again.

Darn it.


The Word Chef said...

Don't worry. I had a hard time with the sermon, too. But unlike you, I'm female. So what was the struggle for me? It had nothing to do with liking or disliking the sermon. Or liking or disliking the fact that a female gave it. But in terms of grasping any powerful "take away." Hmph. I'm not sure why this was. Maybe I'm used to men giving sermons "straight up" and with a clear "take away." Or maybe it's cuz I was sitting in the balcony. And though the balcony people sit closer to God (up), they do sit further from the sermon-giver (up AND back). So. Anyway. Maybe something got lost in transportation from Point A (Heather) to Point B (me in the balcony). For whatever my senseless ramblings are worth...

Alyssa said...

Well, I'd have to say from another female's persepective that I really enjoyed the sermon. I don't know if it was that it came from a female with a calming, British accent...or if it was that it was about Christmas. It made me want to sing "Oh Holy Night" from the top of my lungs...(and that is not something anyone would want to hear me sing.)

Anyway, it just reitterated the importance of the great Gift of Christmastime. Jesus does change everything. EVERYTHING, indeed.

Fa la la la la. :)

Leisha said...

I think Mike's point is valid about communication styles being different. I heard Heather at all three services, and felt that I understood her main point (God with us) because of her stories and illustrations. I was reminded of when I used to preach regularly at the youth group I helped lead, and my sermons always had a far different feel than when the youth pastor preached. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.