As long as we’re on the subject of squicky clergy habits, I’m going to go ahead and say how much I HATE that cheerleadery use of the word “Amen.”
It goes like this,
So my friends, what I am saying to you is that you can find meaning in the brokenness, amen? And you should not feel like a failure if you’re lost, because the Scripture TELLS us that it is where we are the most lost and broken that God finds and recreates us, Amen? And because I’m up here without notes and a prompter and I’m kind of spinning out my sermon on my feet, amen? I’m going to ask you to punctuate my every fourth thought and idea with Amen rather than leave you the silence and the space to actually form your own thoughts and reactions, which may be to TOTALLY DISAGREE WITH WHAT I’m SAYING, AMEN?
I think this style of preaching is invasive, potentially spiritually abusive, authoritarian-with-a-smile, and disrespectful. Amen?
To me, EARNING an amen is a very special thing. I want any “amening” to be spontaneous and genuine, not on cue. Brrrr, scary mind-control.
Use it sparingly, is what I’m saying. Sometimes if someone lets out a little “woot” at something I say, I’ll stop and say, “Was that an amen?” and everyone kind of titters, and I’ll say, “Go ahead, let it out!” If I was wrong, I say, “Ok, just checking!” and move on.
A line I use fairly frequently when preaching is, “I can see a lot of you nodding,” which is my acknowledgment of their affirmation, not a pep rally manipulation to get them to give it to me like obedient automatons.
You may vehemently disagree. I’m just talking about something that leaves me cold and suspicious inside, so I figured I’d say something in case all the big rock stars are encouraging its use. I really don’t know whether or not they are because I don’t attend rock star things very often.*
*unless I’m invited, in which case I will totally go, because it’s rude to turn down an invitation