On my partner’s laptop at home, when you first log on to the Internet, the preferences are set to take you to a Google search home page that includes a random tidbit of trivia. Each time you go to the home page, there is a new factoid displayed.
So this time, I logged and there it was: “Homilophobia: Fear of sermons.”
Considering how similar the word is to “homophobia” and considering my very recent close encounter with some very “homophobic” sermonizers, my first thought was, “Well, considering the things some of these people say in their sermons, why shouldn’t we be homilophobic?!”
But I did a quick Web search, wanting to be sure that it was a real word, something that real people really suffer from. Sure enought, it’s for real. There’s even a site online where you can get treatment – ChangeThatsRightNow.com. You can do the home study program, with CDs and a workbook, for $147 (or download for $137), or you can get a special one-on-one “VIP” program for $2,497, which includes “private sessions with a board-certified specialist.”
(Now, I am not making any judgments on this site or its services, either good or bad. I am just saying it’s out there.)
I don’t want to make light of what appears to be a truly serious problem for some people. But again I say, why shouldn’t we be afraid of some of the speech that gets called sermonizing these days. It’s not so much a problem to be treated as a form of self preservation.