Merry Deep Church 8

(I’m all songed out.  The last few posts should have provided much for your listening enjoyment.)

With the kids all awash in post-present opening bliss, I’m stealing away a few quiet moments to return to Deep Church.  I’m well aware that I didn’t post on Deep Preaching on Monday like I was suppose to.  I know there has been an empty void in your life since then.

To make it up to you, we are going to get crackin’ on finishing up this book.  With the end of the year just days away, there are many things that I’d like to bring completion before 2010 begins.  Most of them I know will stretch on into the new year, but this book is one very small thing that doesn’t need to.  Also, given the extra down time that the holidays afford, my plan is to post once a day for the next four days to finish it out.  That way, both you and I can put the book behind us.

My other motivation to finishing before the close of the year is a different reading project that I’m looking forward to for the new year.  I’ll share more about that anon.

Alrighty…  deep preaching.

Frankly, this chapter wasn’t all that revolutionary – not that he intended it to be.  I’m certainly not drawn to the whole truth discovered out of the community’s process of hashing out on a Sunday morning in a round table fashion idea.  The list of reasons is long, and this isn’t the time to revisit them.  However, it is enough to say that there is a reason preaching in some form has existed for the duration of church history.  Totally deconstructing preaching in favor of some other mode of communication seems faddish at best, and totally misguided at worst.  The antidote to bad preaching isn’t no preaching…  it is great preaching.  Don’t misunderstand.  I’ve certainly had my share of bad sermons – both mine and others.  But that doesn’t mean that the endeavor itself is bankrupt.

And like Belcher, I also chafe under the somewhat predictable three-points and poem format.  Not very creative, and therefore doesn’t reflect the manifestly creative nature of the Scriptures.  So, yes there is a sense in which preaching needs some re-imagining.  I just don’t think it is along the lines turning preaching into sitting down with your entire congregation to have a chat over coffee.

Belcher’s answer is to recognize the drama of Scripture.  And I would agree on many fronts here.  There is the grand story of God’s work in redemptive history.  It is that story we encounter in the text.  And then there are all the little stories that find their way into the grand story.  So it seems to go without saying that preaching should not only tell the story but be told as a story.  In a great deal of my own preaching and teaching, I go to some effort to connect the text to the larger framework of the story in which it finds itself.  Huge portions of the Scriptures are narratives and in my opinion requires that we become story tellers…  not just our own little anecdotal stories…  but masters at telling the story of the One who matters most.

Just a quibble or two… I’ve just suggested that the form of preaching should be dictated by the text.  Where it is narrative, three points and a poem seems to violate the nature of the text.  However, my own feeling is that one shouldn’t necessarily over-react and turn all preaching into story.  Where the text is not as much of a narrative…  more prophetic or didactic or epistolary…  then the form of preaching ought to reflect those genres as well.

Well that seems like plenty to consider over Christmas lunch.  Until tomorrow…  Merry Christmas!

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