Note: By separating Christians into "Mainline Protestant" and "Others" I am not trying to give the former undue significance. The organization is merely about the quantity of sermons I found. (I'd like to find enough evangelical ones to make it a separate section, but many ended up sucked int the "Fact or Not?" page.) If you don't believe me, let me note that I'm a Catholic, not a Protestant, so I'm not favoring "my guys." Indeed, I would be the first to note that the Catholic pages on Jonah are few and (with exceptions) not very deep.
Evangelical and Fundamentalist
Great Truths from the Book of Jonah by Wayne Jackson, Christian Courier (Monday, April 12, 1999). Jackson introduces the book from a literalist anglewithout getting caught in the science of itand then proceeds to identify ten of its lessons.
The church and homosexuality: Will we be Jesus or Jonah? by Steve Calverley. (?).
"Sadly, the evangelical church has too often responded to persons who struggle with same-sex attraction in a very Jonah-like manner. … We've told them the Bible says it's wrongand it doesand that any sexual behaviour outside of a life-long commitment between a man and a woman is an abomination to God. The message they hear, however, is that they themselves are an abomination to God, because we won't take the time to love themto be Jesus to them.
Jonah by Ken Carson, Grace Institute. Stimulating class notes including this perceptive observation:
" The effectiveness of this rebellious prophet should also warn us not to judge the motives of people based upon the results of their ministry. … We must be careful to not look at the results of one's ministry or endeavors and judge their heart motive based upon the 'success' of that endeavor. God is looking for tender and broken hearts, not success stories."
Shouldn't we emphasize love for Jesus Christ rather than squabbling over Bible translations? by Samuel C. Gipp (also here). Pro-King James tirade ends on Jonah:
"So, when Jesus says one thing (whale) and your pastor, parent, or professor says another (fish) you are bound by LOVE for Christ to reject man's opinion and embrace and defend Jesus' w-o-r-d-s."You are also bound by LOVE for Christ to avoid understanding Greek.
Running WITH God, preached by Don Gettys, McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church (October 7, 1995). Gettys takes the acid notion in a different dirrection:
"HOW WOULD JONAH DRAW A CROWD? Actually that might not be too hard considering how he looked. He must have looked a sight. Eastern people normally have dark skin. Jonah's had been bleached white as snow by the stinging acid. His black hair was white as a ghost. All this made him look like an almost supernatural being."
You Can Run, But You Can't Hide (Jonah 1:1-16), sermon by James Wenger, from the Book of Jonah page at Grace Church (also available as a download.) Pastor Wenger examines the first chapter, stressing the importance of obedience ("It is always a downward move to willfully disobey the Lord.") Wengler focuses on the sinfulness of Nineveh, glossing over any Jewish/non-Jewish message.
How Low Must You Go? (Jonah 1:17-2:10), sermon by James Wenger, from the Book of Jonah page at Grace Church (also available as a download.) The highlight here is Wenger recounting when he was a limo driver, and drove Clinton-advisor James Carville. Needless to say, Wenger worked the conversation around to his faith. Getting the drift, Carville summed it up with:
"So you really think Jonah was swallowed by a whale?"
Grace and Mercy Displayed (Jonah 3:1-10), sermon by James Wenger, from the Book of Jonah page at Grace Church (also available as a download.) No summary (I've listened to almost two hours of Wenger. He's a talented preacher, but I get the jist.)
Lenten Reflections by Natalie Ganley, Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Washington, DC. Beginning with the observation "I love Jonah and I don't love Jonah." Ganley proceeds to see every irony and reversal in the story. Her description of Jonah's prayer is dead-on:
"As Ignatius would say in his Spiritual Exercises, 'A lot of talk, but no action.' In fact, Jonah uses his time in the fish to plan his return to the temple Jerusalem to say a proper thank you is God. But God has other plans."Her complaint with Jonah is thatcompared to the sailors or the humble kingJonah "hogs" the tradition. True enough, although for most of us the (fish|whale) is the real scene stealer...
In the Belly of Lent: Jonah and Us by James Philipps, St. Antony Messenger. Philipps sees the ironies in the storyhis reference to the "one of these things is not like the other" song is a generational touch I can relate tobut he doesn't go far enough, "swallowing" Jonah's prayer and representing Jonah's "struggle" against "reluctance, egocentrism and pride" as "a model for every one of us." But does Jonah in fact struggle, or is he everywhere wrong?
Selling Bibles to Generation Y by David A. Murray, from the "Adoremus Bulletin" (December 1999/January 2000). Attack on the recently-released Catholic Youth Bible discusses its introduction to the Book of Jonah:
"Cutesiness—and worse—abounds in notes and comments on the Scripture. The Book of Jonah, for example, is described as a hilarious satire, and young Catholics are expected to snicker at comments like, 'along comes a taxi in the form of a large fish's stomach', and 'the reader is giggling at the goofiness of pigs and sheep in sackcloth' (1072)."
Jonah: Antihero, Unwilling Prophet, Ourselves by Fr. Dan Berrigan, S.J. (October 6, 2004). Rambling, disjointed sermon with some of the purple-est and most political prose to come out of the Societas Jesu. (My Georgetown professors would take a big red pen to it.) See Wikipedia: Dan Berrigan for some context. (Ohhhh....)
Coptic Orthodoxy: Jonah, "The Lord, 'his' God" by H.G. Bishop Youssef, Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States. Sermon finds meaning in Jonah's switch from the impersonal "God of Heaven" to the personal.
Book: "Contemplations on the Book of Jonah the Prophet" by H. H. Pope Shenouda III. Coptic pope's interpretation on the Book of Jonah, the center of the Coptic Church's three-day "Fast of Nineveh." The page also contains a number of sermons and hymns, unfortuately all in Arabic (some Coptic in there too, presumably). The hymns are beautiful.
The Syriac Orthodox Church also follows the three-day "Fast of Nineveh."
John Calvin Commentary on Jonah, translated by the Rev. John Owen (1950). For online Protestant literalism, this is the ur-text—a nine-part line-by-line commentary by one of the movement's founders. The hard-line literalism is here, but also a good deal of logical reasoning and classical learning.
What Meanest Thou, O Sleeper? preached by C. H. Spurgeon (September 14, 1862).
"But you will reply to me, 'Why, sir, we talk about religion.' Many people talk in their sleep. I have heard of a man who preached an excellent sermon when he was asleep."
The Fainting Soul Revived preached by C. H. Spurgeon (date not given). Much about the "backslider."
Salvation of the Lord preached by C. H. Spurgeon (May 10, 1857).
"Jonah learned this sentence of good theology in a strange college.."
Who Can Tell? preached by C. H. Spurgeon (September 18th, 1859).
Jonah's Object-Lessons preached by C. H. Spurgeon (June 11, 1885).
Children's Sermon by Jim Kerlin. Simplifies the story and brings out some of the humor. His author page discusses the difficulty of "trying to tell about spiritual truths in a concrete way to kids with a 30-second attention span."
The Sign of Jonah: A Muslim Connundrum, "Answering Muslim Objections to the Resurrection" by Christopher C. Warren. The alleged Muslim objection is strangethat because Jonah didn't die, Jesus' "sign of Jonah" didn't involve deathand an even stranger answer. According to Warren, Jesus' mention of a sign was intentionally misleading and queerly self-referential, because the sign was a sign for doubters and "they who doubt will only be given signs to establish them in their doubts." Apparently Jesus, when speaking to doubters, said illogical things to deepen their doubt. Golly but this is neat!