I follow the blog of a pastor. Today, he posted a sermon that made reference to a letter that was ostensibly written by a visitor to a church. This letter was so obviously phony that I had to look it up to see if it was just an internet urban legend. To my amazement, what I found was that the entire sermon (not just the letter but the ENTIRE sermon) had been posted on another wordpress blog four years ago!
I left a polite comment on the blog I follow, asking if this post was a reblog, and linking back to (what I thought was) the original, posted in 2010.
He responded to my comment:
It is a former sermon. To God be the glory.
And he deleted my comment.
I commented again, once again linking to (what I thought was) the original:
A former sermon?
To God be the glory. But if someone else wrote it, it doesn’t seem to glorify God to pass it off as one’s one. Similarly, if it is a former sermon of yours, it doesn’t seem to glorify God if someone else has posted it as his own.
He deleted this comment without replying. I did another search, and found (what is probably) the actual original, posted in 2002. I posted another comment:
Is this something that pastors typically do? Share their sermons with each other without letting the congregation know that it is someone else’s work? Under the headline of “to God be the glory?”
This seems kind of tricky. If it’s permitted among pastor’s circles, it is still kind of awful for congregants to find out. It’s too much like plagiarism for my linking. It’s one of those things that can really turn people off church. I must say, I’m a bit stunned.
If you really thought it didn’t matter, you wouldn’t delete my comment.
This time, my comment awaited moderation before going up. And then he replied:
I understand, Alma. I apologize for the confusion.
He allowed my comments (all except my original one), but then later deleted the entire blog post.
I left a comment on the other blog as well, but the comment is awaiting moderation, and I have not received a reply as yet. I have a feeling I won’t hear back.
Oh, and a little googling brought up the same sermon in a third place:
This pastor apparently read it out to his congregation on a Sunday, as if it were his own.
The funny thing is, I write for a content mill where they buy my articles, including the copyright. I see my articles all over the internet with other people’s names on them. So maybe I’m just as bad. My articles are about dentures, or camping, or carpet cleaning, or acupuncture. They aren’t about things that I am passionate about, so I guess it hadn’t bothered me too much to sell them to someone who will pass them off as his/her own. But I guess it’s still being an accessory to plagiarism.
I really find it disturbing to find out that church is just another industry. Does this bother anybody else?