Monty Python, Preaching, and Culturally Relevant Sermons

If Monty Python had never made The Quest for the Holy Grail, all my sermons would be two minutes shorter.



Pastors are supposed to be culturally relevant. We’re supposed to interject cultural things into our sermons to make us appear as though we’re real people and know things about stuff.

The problem is that modern culture is completely stupid. Modern music is no music at all. Modern films are just political propaganda. Television is passé. YouTube and Instagram are just one more waste of time.

It’s hard to pay attention to such inanities, let alone work them into sermons and be relevant.

I prefer reveling in my irrelevance. I have no idea what is going on in modern culture, other than knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that modern culture is completely stupid. I at least know that. I prefer showing my incompetence by quoting things that were cool many years ago.

The greatest movie ever made was Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail. There are so many lines in there that fit like hand in glove into sermons. I cannot talk about the resurrection without mentioning “I got better. I feel fine.” Any discussion of government or kings in the Bible so easily slides into “watery tarts distributing swords is no basis for a form of government.” The witch of Endor floats on water like small rocks and churches. I could go on. I can quote the whole movie. Walls of Jericho with the Frenchmen who will taunt you a second time.

The thing is that very few people know Monty Python references anymore. What sad times are these when passing ruffians can’t quote Monty Python. So when I include Monty Python quotes in my sermons, people just think I’m quoting the King James. Either that or people think I’m stupid for saying that Jesus got better after He was crucified.

People have no idea how many lines of Monty Python they know now simply because I’ve repeated them in my sermons.

Now, in my defense, people also know a lot of Bible verses because I quote those a lot in my sermons too, don’t get me wrong. I don’t just recite Monty Python every Sunday. But they make several appearances every week.

Paul’s thorn in the flesh? It’s just a flesh wound.

Flee also youthful lusts? Run away! Run away!

A good tree does not bring forth bad fruit? Are you suggesting that coconuts are migratory?

People also have no idea how much Tommy Boy and The Princess Bride and Pink Floyd’s The Wall make it into my sermons either. These are classic sources of great lines. I can’t help it if these lines make it into my sermons. I pray for the Holy Spirit to guide my words in my sermons, and these lines come out, so a guy can only conclude that these classic lines are now Holy Spirit infused and can be edifying.

I fail to see how me quoting classic movies and classic rock is somehow wrong in light of pastors who show movie clips and other modern cultural relevancies. Paul quoted a poet who said the Cretans were liars. I’m sure I can quote Monty Python.

OK, so I wrote a bunch of defensive words proving it’s OK for a pastor to quote stupid movies in his sermon. Perhaps I have a doubt. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin. Maybe I’m wrong. If some of the old women in church knew how often they were hearing Chris Farley lines I’d no doubt get letters correcting my sinful ways.

Alas, whatever. These lines are a part of who I am. They are my very thought processes. The time you need to worry is when these lines are no longer part of what I’m saying. Then you can know for sure that I am no longer engaged with the sermons.

I don’t need anyone finding fault with my outdated cultural references. Look, this is supposed to be a happy time, not a time for arguing and bickering about who killed who.



But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
–Matthew 15:18

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