Monday, May 23, 2011

To most people it's phooey!

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.


Michele Beck said...

It is sad to hear that news about preaching. Is this because the present generation has been trained to look for a 'show' rather than listen to a preacher? It seems to me, as I searched for a church that the primary goal was to wow the audience. Gary and I both attended a church where the preacher/pastor did an amazing job and drew in thousands. But really how many of them does he personally know and is it not the full responsibility of the pastor to know them all, they are his sheep whom he shall be accounted for. So what I am trying to say is this: We trained them to look for the show, so now they expect it but the times call for us to get away from the pulpit and into our communities that are struggling.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Quicke What we are failing to remember is that preaching attempts to help bring the Kingdom of God in to the world. If we've learned anything from Dr. Cosgroves class, the "kingdom is Here Now!" and still "not yet." Could part of the problem, be that preachers and hearers of the word have forgotten this?