Monday, October 10, 2005

More on opening a vein in preaching

Chris Erdman has expanded on his earlier post about opening a vein in preaching. What Chris describes is more than a sappy sentimentalism that gives listeners a false sense of intimacy with the preacher:
Preaching isn’t about stringing cute or entertaining stories together like pretty beads on a yard of yarn, or asking listeners to fill in blanks with handy principals for living. Preachers can do that, but when they do they urge us all to believe that real life is much more interesting than this ancient book that we’re supposed to appreciate. People might want us to do all this, but what they want isn’t always what they need. Deep inside they know they need another story to place alongside their own stories, giving their lives meaning and continuity and correction. They’re in church because they’re wagering that the Story told here might give their troubled and dull and fragmented lives a new significance inside a larger Life, a grander Story. They have trouble seeing their lives as beautiful and wonderful and on-the-way-with-God, and they’re gambling that we as preachers might have something to say that helps them see things differently. We owe it to them to tell that Story winsomely and faithfully and . . . bodily. . . .

I say to my students: Stay close to the text; stay close to your people; stay close to yourself and enter the sanctuary of the heart where Christ dwells. Do this and you’ll find your vein.


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