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Nervous about Speaking
By Cliff McLeod Jr
Hey (my daughter), I heard from mom how hard you are working in this "crash" course. I understand. This is a lot of pressure, especially if you are nervous about doing public speaking anyway. Practice and experience is the key thing to getting used to it. And even then, every time I get up to speak, is the "first time" for that particular moment, subject and experience. Also, you know you can't get a re-do, as in taping. Speaking, is an "in-the-moment" experience that requires engaging not only your mind, but also your personality, maturity, ability to connect with others of many different ages and backgrounds. It is a very tricky thing to do, and that's what makes you nervous. You will not reach everyone, not necessarily because of what you do or don't do, but often because of what is going on in the thoughts of listeners. They get distracted, not interested, and hard to hold their attention. A big question to ask yourself is "what do I want to do?" "Teach/share information, Inspire them, Comfort them, Rally them, Unify them, leave them with an open-ended thought for them to carry home and think about, make their own decision" Things like that will help direct your speech. Also, mechanical things, like not talking too fast, to give time for the sound to travel to the listener, and for them to absorb it without getting left behind. Diction and tone is important. My speech teacher told us to listen for the "optimum" pitch or tone in our voice. Most of us speak in a higher, tone and need to lower our pitch a little bit to make it more pleasing to hear. What a difference that can make, and we consciously have to think about pitch as we begin, or if I get excited and my pitch rises too much, to bring it back down. Then of course everyone wants to appear natural and comfortable. You may not be comfortable, not many people really are. But often, when you start, and "get lost" in what you are saying, you do get in your comfort zone. The anticipation is what makes us nervous. I have known many preachers who got extremely nervous. Especially if it is an important occasion, it is natural to be nervous. But if not, that is ok, too. It probably means that you are well prepared, you have something you really want to say, and really want to give the speech. Preaching on a regular basis, makes me experience all these different feelings all the time. Often it is because of the way I feel physically, emotionally, and how well I am prepared. Some Sundays, I have been feeling low, and I am just glad to have a message prepared to give. Other Sundays, I am so jacked and excited, I can't wait to preach. Each Sunday falls somewhere between the highs and lows. When I hit a "dry spell" of not feeling very inspired with my preaching, Dad would laugh and say, "Well, you can't roll'em in the isle every Sunday." Translated, that means you cannot excite them every Sunday. Some Sundays you just have to be a faithful witness to what scripture says, be true to yourself, to your listeners, do no harm, and feed them with something worth hearing. So, don't worry about being the most exciting speaker, just be good and trustworthy speaker who cares about the good of the listener. That is what makes it real. That you care.
Cliff McLeod, Jr.
Ordained minister, PCUSA
Minister of Belle Isle Presbyterian Church,
“Peace be with al.”
By Rev. Canon Tony W. Bouwmeester
Let the Holiday Greeting be, “Peace be with al.”
Preaching on the Economy
By Barbara Jean Havens
I have been fortunate to live in the area where Walter Brueggemann recently moved after retiring. He teaches a well attended series of Bible Studies each year at his church. Each one has been heavily centered on the comparison between Biblical empires, (Egypt, Babylon, Rome etc.) and our own present "empire." (Each of the Biblical empires fell, you will note.) Walter, being an Old Testament scholar, relies heavily on Jeremiah, Isaiah, and even Daniel and Psalms to express his point that we should emulate the ORIGINAL Israelite culture based on their understanding of righteousness: That is, living out Hospitality, Generosity, and Kindness as expressions of their relationship with Yahweh. Especially Isaiah and Jeremiah point out all the awful things that happen when they don't live this way. Walter also admits the difficulty in preaching this, because the sermon forum does not leave room for Q and A, but he does advocate teaching it every chance we get.
Economy of the Trinity
By David von Schlichten
I would preach on the economy. It is a salient issue. People need reassurance that God is with us. People also need to be reminded that this is a time, not for parsimony when it comes to helping the needy, but for sustained generosity. In times of financial duress, people tend to short-change the poor. Instead, we are to help more.
I am also thinking of the economic Trinity, the aspect of the Trinity that is active in the world to help us. How does the Trinity reach down and over to care for us during such times?
According to Trinity-economics, for instance, God gives us all a day's wage. How can this policy inform our own economics? I understand that the world "economics" has two meanings here, but they are related.
Yours in Christ,
David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator
Preaching on the Economy?
By Joe the Preacher
I would be interested to hear how others are addressing economical issues in their sermons. We all know "it is the economy, stupid" but should it be "preach on the economy, stupid"?
I am trying to be pastoral in my sermons and identify with the fears and losses that my parishoners are having, but are there other things that we should be saying?
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