I once attended a seminar conducted by Dr. Alyce MacKenzie (Preaching Prof. at SMU/Perkins) whose work is on the wisdom tradition. She talked about the proverbs as an example and noted that we have modern-day proverbs as well (don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched, a stitch in time saves nine, etc.), calling them “freeze-dried stories.” She was calling pastor/preachers to reclaim a role as “wisdom-teachers” within the community of faith.
I wonder how this would comport within the discussion springing from my earlier post, “what kind of story are we in?”
Here are some of my present challenges in preaching (not including improving study & prep!):
1. I tend toward an inductive plot-driven rather than a deductive point-driven sermon, but am preaching something of a hybrid, partly because I have been trying out providing sermon guides. Some folks really enjoy them, others don’t use them at all–it was something I decided to try out because you’ve got to try things out somewhere. In most of my sermons (the plot-driven kind, that is), I attempt to take the congregation on a journey in which we discover together what’s going on in the biblical passage, why, and what implications that might have for us. But I’ve noticed that some folks don’t feel like they’ve heard a sermon unless they’ve heard some points!
2. I need to construct/relay the Christian narrative world so that we may live within it instead of the other stories that invite us to live within them. At the same time, many people recognize Scripture “relating to their lives” through the “interpretation/application” paradigm that JD refers to in comments on the above post.
How do we bridge these groups of people and various concerns with our preaching? We have the twin issues of all ages of preaching: fidelity to the text (both in meaning and in the way that meaning comes to us) and connection with the people. I am experimenting with my preaching in an attempt to discover some of these answers.