Our guest preaching blogger this week is
2008-06-16 by David Howell

Preston Harper, professor at Abilene Christian University, where he has taught since earning a PhD at Texas Christian University. Prior to that he served three years in the U. S. Army and taught in a public high school. He likes to write books and articles, mentor prisoners at a state prison near Abilene, swim, play golf, garden, restore old vehicles, and travel. He and his wife, Marsha, have three children and five grandchildren.



Daniel Hale; "Lectionary Homiletics" Highlights
2008-06-13 by David von Schlichten

Thank you to guest blogger Daniel Hale and to Tom Steagald and David Howell for their tub-time. I especially appreciated the comments on preaching and whether to use a manuscript.

Click on Share It! and then Free Samples from Lectionary Homiletics to soak up Anna Carter Florence's “Preaching the Lesson” article. She always, always provides mind-opening insights.

Below are highlights from some of the other articles for this week in Lectionary Homiletics.

Theological Themes”

Borrowing from Jerry Sittser, Douglas M. Koskela quotes, “The will of God concerns the present more than the future. The only time we really have both to know and to do God's will is the present moment” (p.25). God calls and sends us. We know not what will happen, but we focus on serving God now through “proclamation and deed” (ibid.).

A Sermon”

There is much in this sermon. Here are snippets: Rodney Wallace Kennedy, in “Justifiable Hospitality,” begins with a variation on the Beatitudes that reflects the world's values, beatitudes such as, “Blessed are the winners” and “Blessed are the warmongers” (p.30). Kennedy also quotes Fosdick: “When will the world learn that intolerance solves no problems?” (ibid.) Kennedy preaches against intolerance in this sermon in favor of radical hospitality.

Kennedy's conclusion is a story of a young man talking with a wise, old hermit. The young man asks the hermit, “Tell me, father, do you struggle with the devil?” The hermit replies that he is too old for such a struggle and that, instead, he struggles with God. The young man asks, “Father, do you hope to win?” The hermit responds, “I hope to lose” (p. 31).

Finally, please go to Sermon Feedback Cafe and offer feedback to a newcomer to the cafe who has posted his or her sermon.

Toweling off, I am

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Keillor and Craddock on manuscripts...
2008-06-12 by David Howell

Very soon, we will have audios of their interviews at the Festival of Homiletics. They will be posted in Share It!

They both have some interesting things to say about preaching/storytelling and manuscripts/notes. Keillor says it is the minimum that a speaker owes an audience...to spend the time writing out what one is going to say. He says he writes out every "News from Lake Wobegon" (although he delivers it without the manuscript). (Interestingly, he says he feels like a complete failure after every show...remind you of anything?...but he resolves the next morning to try it again the next week. Sound familiar?) Keillor goes on to say that (in his opinion) it would be complete arrogance not to prepare (and rely on things to come to you in the moment).

Craddock says some similar things and adds that it is not a progression. That is, one does not start by preaching from a manuscript, move up to preaching with notes, and finally progress to preaching without notes. He says it depends on the situation and how comfortable the preacher is with the material. For instance, if the pastor is preaching on a very controversial issue. He or she better preach from a manuscript. "I didn't say that... see right here is my manuscript... this is what I said."





Moses had tablets!
2008-06-12 by Tom Steagald

That is how I respond when people (still, here in the South and products--though several generations removed--from the great Revivals) fuss about my preaching from a manuscript.

I grew up in a tradition where a "starting point" for homiletical faithfulness began with the discarding or eschewing altogether of any kind of sermon notes. Based on this scripture and the (more or less) "doctrine" of instantaneous inspiration (God gave the Word; God gives the words), preachers were expected in the name of authenticity and (though my forebears would probably not use the term) "kenosis" to become vessels of the Spirit. Mansucripts and notes, the former more than the latter but only by a nose, were viewed as impediments, intrusions, usurpers.

Such a view can foster laziness, of course, but the better strand of the tradition is that the pastor would "bathe" himself (always "himself" in those days and that tradition) in prayer and study (commentaries were allowed as long as the interpretations were not "worldly"--and seminaries, often called "cemeteries" were known to have "ruined" more preachers...), in comparing "scripture with scripture," so that on Sunday morning when the pastor stood there would be, as it were, a free-flow of material from God to people through the preacher.

Many preachers I know still use this method of proclamation and sermons are often kick-started by "on the way to church this morning I saw a..." or "heard a..." whatever it was, perceived as a God-given entry point into the well of prayer, preparation and pastoral conversation which had occured over the week. 

My dad was always distrustful of liturgy, of the Christian year, of anything that could conceivably "quench the spirit" that was "waiting to show up" any given Sunday.

 





No Preparation
2008-06-12 by David von Schlichten

Daniel,

What does it mean that we are not to prepare what to say because the Holy Spirit will give us the words? Some could interpret this passage as endorsing laziness. One could contend that preachers (persecuted or not) should not prepare their sermons, that the Holy Spirit will give them the right words. What do you make of this promise from Jesus?

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





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