Why am I making these videos? And what does it have to do with someone cheating on their wedding day?
Sound and music from Storyblocks
If you prefer reading, the script I used is below.
NATHANIEL Hi I'm Nathaniel and this- Whatever- TITLE CARD NATHANIEL The day of their wedding the soon to be bride goes out to finish writing her wedding vows, and when she returns to the church she finds her fiancé banging with a bridesmaid. Now we've all heard this story, or some variation, whether it was a clickbatey article or daytime tv or whatever. But where ever you heard the story, there's always some bride or groom caught or confessing to cheating on their wedding day. And the question is why? Another why question. Why sermonize? It's 2021. Why dredge up this dying art form. Don't think it's dying? When's the last time you used the word "preachy" as a compliment? Look, I'm going to change the name. The word "sermon" makes me uncomfortable. Why should I expect anyone else would want to watch this? So why do it? Ok, back to the other story, but the Biblical version this time. The people of Israel are being lead by Moses through the desert, and they go to this mountain to take vows with (or in a sense marry) their god. Moses goes up the mountain to finish the vow writing with the bride-god. (That's the whole Ten Commandments/law thing. Those are the vows.) But when he comes back down he finds the people are worshipping an idol. Now, there's a lot going on with idol worship and all that that we won't get into, but the basic idea is, they were banging with a bridesmaid. The bride finished the vows, looked in on the groom, and found him cheating on their wedding day. And the question in both stories is, why? What is going on in their heads? There could be many things, many different stories that for them made this make sense; But the one thing we can say is, whatever the story was in their heads, it didn't line up with the reality of the story they'd been trying to participate in. I remember jumping from church to church after college, full of questions. I tried churches from the megachurch to the house church, from places with a volunteer pianist to lights out rock concerts. But the aesthetic wasn't the problem. Sometimes someone would make a big deal about some disagreement with a theological point, but usually it was just dancing around the fringes. And that wasn't the issue. I didn't know how far off the rails things were going for so many, but the stories being told didn't seem to line up with the reality of the story we were trying to participate in. I tried some churches outside the evangelical tradition, and they were nice enough. But I'd grown up evangelical and I struggled to connect with their story. So why sermonize in 2021? Well, being the evangelical nerd that I was, I did what I was told. I read my Bible, prayed, and tried to integrate my work with my faith. I'm trained as a theater artist, a story teller. And the story that I found, was very different. It's a story where economic justice, feminism & civil rights, and taking care of our planet are central themes. Not some liberal agenda or misdirected "social gospel" but are core to the gospel and even salvation. And this is straight from the text. It's a story for all humanity with love for all humanity, not in the "if you convert" way, but in truth, in the human condition and in our connection with the divine. And yes, we'll talk about sin and the cross and all of it, but this isn't an on the fringes change. This is an atonement theory rewrite, a reframing of the entire gospel story. So for the next I-don't-know-how-many videos I'm going to be laying out what I'll call for now a post-evangelical gospel narrative. Why this "sermonizing"? Like for the cheating fiancé, I think there's an old story, that may have had good parts to it, but right now it's causing destruction. And I think maybe sometimes the best antidote to a story like that is to tell a better one. In the next video I'll try to give a very broad overview. Then we'll get into specifics from there. If you're interested in following along, there should be something like a subscribe button somewhere around this video. Or you can always go to my website nathanielnorton.com to sign up for email notifications, etc. Thanks for watching. See you next time.
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