Over lunch with my academic colleagues today I happened to mention the comment in my last post from that critic of preaching who claimed preaching could not be transformational. "Well, " responded one of my friends: 'He is speaking for many people in our churches. Ask them honestly what they think about preaching and they'll say it is phooey! All phooey! Because, frankly much preaching has no impact at all on the church. He has read the situation better than you Michael! "
This brought me up with a jolt. It's one thing to claim what great possibilities preaching should/might have. This is a favority ploy especially by preaching professors whose lives are (too) bound up high thoughts about preaching. But this critic does give a painful reality check. In too many places preaching has fallen into dull, generic blah! Indeed, a couple of stories followed where recent preaching experiences not only failed to be positive, nor were even neutral, but were actually negative in impact. They actually made matters worse. Help!
I felt challenged about slick claims. Sometimes critics do read the situation better. It doesn't mean dropping expectations but it explains skepticism and resistance.