Did you know I have a blog? I do! Well… sort of. By that, I mean it exists in the cloud somewhere, but I usually forget it’s there. If you’re a faithful reader, you can be forgiven for wondering if I forgot my login information, considering my last post was published in February.
Every now and then, my blog reenters my consciousness. This time, it happened when I quoted from Nadia Bolz-Weber’s (far more active, far more popular) blog in a recent sermon.
Believe it or not, my blog has existed in some form or another since 1997, before the word “blog” was even coined. Through the years it’s served lots of purposes, not the least of which was an aid in procrastination. After my ordination as a pastor, I was certain the blog would be a place for sharing theological discoveries, book reviews, highlights of married life, and other random musings.
That never quite panned out for me… mostly because I forget the blog exists. And I forget the blog exists because I’m too busy doing other things. Not only that, while one might rightly consider a pastor to be a creative writer, my creative writing energies are usually depleted by the time my weekly sermon takes its final form.
Recently, one of you asked me what my usual sermon-writing practice looks like, and how many hours it takes. I can answer the first question, but there’s no real rhyme or reason that can answer the second.
In short, I begin digging deeply into a given scriptural text on the Thursday of the week prior to the given sermon. In other words, for a sermon I preach this Sunday morning, chances are I started studying it 10-12 days earlier. My study process usually entails some language study (Hebrew or Greek), theological readings, commentaries, and a podcast or two. Yes – this timeline means that when I preach in worship, I usually have a completely different scripture percolating in the back of my mind! Yes – this sometimes confuses me.
As a new week begins, I try to have a solid first draft of a sermon done by the end of Monday. (Session knows that while I work on Mondays, I’m usually in an undisclosed coffee shop location and rarely in the office so I can work uninterrupted). Doing this frees the rest of my week up for other things – pastoral care, administrative tasks, committee meetings, etc. I usually return daily to the sermon for edits and adjustments… at least until Thursday, when I start to look ahead at the passage that will come next!
Maybe I’ll start producing creative content for the blog again someday, but I’m not going to hold my breath. For now, I’m finding the spiritual discipline of writing weekly sermons to be enough for me. (Or… before I forget, maybe I’ll just cross-post this newsletter musing onto the blog and call it a day!)
Note: This post originated as the pastor's musings in Southminster's September 2023 newsletter. So, yes... I really did just cross-post the newsletter musing into my blog. :)
I'm a husband, father, news junkie, theatre lover, enneagram enthusiast, bi advocate, amateur foodie, wannabe barista, and an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
All works by Rev. TJ Remaley on this website are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This blog is maintained personally by me and does not necessarily represent the views of any congregation I have served. Every effort is made to give proper attribution for quotations, images, and other media used on this page.