Monday, July 28, 2008

Black Monday

I'm finding out about a phenomenon I've heard about for years, but have never really experienced. Preachers call it "Black Monday", and I can already tell I'm going to have to fight it. It refers to the depression and let down associated with preaching in front of people on Sunday and feeling the "rush" of a week of activity that culminates on Sunday, ends on Sunday night and zaps the life right out of you. I remember having the same feeling when I played football and we'd end the week with a game. The next day was always kind of blah, and I never thought much about it as a young man. As a man in his thirties, I'm starting to think about it.

In an article called "Birthing a Sermon", John Ortberg suggests that sermon preparation and delivery is like giving birth. Although this metaphor is very extreme (it's actually ridiculous, but I still like his point, so don't email me barking about this metaphor), it describes well the kinds of feelings involved in planning and executing a sermon. In the article Ortberg writes, "Sermon preparation is a complex process. When I think about constructing a message, I use the metaphor of having a baby, because I believe the stages are quite similar. There's the initial conception, which is often quite a lot of fun. Then there is gestation, which is increasingly difficult. Next, there's the delivery, which can be a combination of euphoria and intense pain. And finally, there are some post-delivery details." What Ortberg fails to point out is the post-partum depression associated with sermon preparation and delivery.

Today has been a difficult day.  I had trouble waking up and have felt somewhat funky all day.  Thoughts are hard to hold captive, and my energy level is very low.  In the back of my mind I've experienced feelings of dread and despair.  All I can chalk it up to is that there was a lot of build up and excitement for me on Sunday, and when it's all over it's kind of anti-climactic.  

Just thought I'd give you some insight into the mind of a pastor.  I'm better now, but there is some residual lull plaguing me still.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

1 comment:

kreider said...

I know what you mean. Knowing it will happen is a major step toward dealing with it. Some weeks will be worse than others. Take care of yourself.

BTW, I had the opportunity to preach on the weekend of 4 July. This church never mentioned the "holiday" (good for them). I did hear from a participant in the service that he was really offended that I did not preach a "God bless his country" sermon.