While I might have been raised Catholic, we are not taught the bible the way other religions are. They get schooled right out of the gate knowing how to quotes favorite verses and the depths of every bible character. This means I have to hanker down with my New International Version bible every time I look for something to help assist with my story telling.
Now, since I have mentioned before that the novel I am currently working on has to do with Angels and all things holy and unholy, this requires me to diligently research all avenues of religions. Of course I get to use creative license as well, but I like the background information for a variety of reasons, one of them being, I may actually want to use a variant of it in the body of the story.
The research itself has been enlightening and frustrating. Today I sat through some online sermons of the more reformed, hipper Christan churches.
The three I chose are Liquid Church in NJ, Reality LA in California and Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA.
My personal preference is for Pastor Tim Lucas at Liquid Church. I thoroughly enjoyed the way he speaks to the audience, using personal anecdotes, it can reach even the most hardened people. I really enjoyed that when he would quote scripture, it would pop up on a screen behind him so I could find it in my bible and follow along. Their current series is about fasting, but I recommend you go through the archives and check out past series as well.
Reality LA was my next choice. Pastor Tim Chaddick's sermon on A Religious Journey to Hell was what I chose to watch and while the topic and the story of Hosea was interesting, I felt a sort of disconnect. He was not big on telling you where verses were. He would say Romans 1 and assume you knew what section he was talking about and that sucked for me.
The Gospel of Luke and the topic Jesus and the Law was today's lesson at Mars Hill Church as taught by Pastor Mark Driscoll. Let's just say I was transported back to a scene out of Ethan Frome and began to wonder if I should cover my head while listening. He is huge on what big sinners and hypocrites we are for judging one another along with religious hypocrisy. Which ironically, religious hypocrisy was also covered by Reality LA in the link I posted so there are interesting parallels. Pastor Driscoll did move onto divorce and I found it fascinating to listen to how people do not have biblical grounds for divorce.
Keep in mind that Mars Hill and Reality LA have heavy Calvinistic undertones. Now. that does not mean it is wrong, it just depends how much you enjoy fire and brimstone preaching. This is not something I am a big fan of and found it off putting at times. Again, I was raised Catholic and am past being told how big of a sinner I am. I get Jesus saved us and took on our sins and that we are just imperfect images of God. At the same time, I am doing my best to listen and keep and open mind to see how people interpret the teachings and how they pass it onto their congregation.
Next up will be me looking for more sermons from different churches. I also hope I can find some for Islam and Judaism as well.