Pity my students, in my Homiletics II class.
Each class we start out with 3 or 4 student sermons. Then an oral critique, joined in by everyone.
Then, after a break to build up tension, we enter into a short period of "shotgun questions."
These are questions drawn blindly from an assortment of slips of paper, on which is printed a question (or a declarative statement, in which is nested an implicit question). Each seminarian is given 5 minutes to think and to answer (hence, "shotgun").
There is a maximum of 17.2 points that can be awarded.
This is a nod to my ancient days when I was competing in extemporaneous speaking in the old Pittsburgh Catholic Forensics League.
I do this because I am sure that catechesis and "theologizing" (to borrow a sodden and jargonish modern participle, beloved of ATS serminaries) should be done on the fly and on the feet (thus mixing metaphors).
Here are some of the "shotgun questions" with which I am arbitrarily (and patriarchally, mind you) inflicting upon my humble students.
I have heard each question in the most inescapable way ... on bus rides to bowling tournaments, pilgrimages ... at the pirohi table ... between chainsaw cuttings of brush out back ... on hikes at church camp.
These questions have all really happened.
- Father, why do we say “Theotokos” instead of “Mother of God”?
- Why doesn’t the Altar Boy ring the bells at the Altar anymore during the Canon of the Mass?
- I thought we were a Russian (or Syrian) church. Why are there so many Greek words, like “Axios”?
- If God is the Father, why do we worship Jesus the Son?
- The Commandments tell us not to make any graven image. Why do we kiss the icons?
- If we are supposed to worship only God, then why do we say at the end of Vespers, “Most Holy Theotokos save us”?
- I think all clergy, even bishops, should be allowed to marry. If we had married clergy, we wouldn’t have ever had the sex abuse problem.
- Why are our crosses different? Why do we make the sign of the cross different from our Roman Catholic friends?
- My friends go to a church with exciting music that changes every Sunday. Why do we do the same thing over and over again in Liturgy?
- Why can’t I worship God the way I want, no matter where I am? I can worship God just as well as home as in the Church.
- Isn’t it judgmental to say that homosexuals are wrong?
- What do you think about evolution?
- Why can’t we all have Christmas on the same day?
- I’d rather go to a Church where they have more exciting worship on Sunday morning.
- Father, I don’t like the priest at my church -- isn’t there anything we can do to get rid of him?
- How far I am allowed to “go” with my boyfriend/girlfriend?
- My parents don’t like some people at church and they don’t want to go to church much. What should I do?
- I think that all religions lead to God, so we should just get along.
- How can the Trinity be Three Persons, but we say we worship One God?
- I thought Jesus Christ was our only Saviour: why do we sing “Most holy Theotokos save us?” at the end of Vespers?
- I lose concentration in my prayers, and sometimes forget where I am. What should I do? Start over?
- My protestant friends tell me that all our customs like icons and incense and liturgy are man-made rules and regulations.
- Is it okay to be rich?
- Is it okay to give money to the poor? Because all the ones who ask me for money are irresponsible and lazy.
- I know so-and-so who went to communion didn’t go to confession.
- (in a grocery parking lot) I haven’t been to your church in twenty years, but I’m gonna get buried at your cemetery because I paid my dues.
- Our church is getting smaller. Is God blessing the charismatics and Baptists? Their churches are so large.