Sunday, October 30, 2011

New Directions in Preaching

Next week I am lecturing at Evangelical Seminary in Myerstown, Penn. I have been given the theme: New Directions in Preaching. Two lectures are titled: Preaching in a Post-Everything Culture and Preaching's Future.

It's always a challenge facing such a theme with blank sheets to be filled. Over the next few days I am sharpening some issues (which means throwing out many others!) However, certain necessary building blocks are emerging. First, I shall need to describe the complex relationship between preaching and culture (which itself needs defining as the big cluster of characteristics of an entire group of people e.g. western culture). Someone has said that this relationship has three aspects: It is inevitable, desirable and risky. It's unavoidable yet requires immense care.

Second, I shall provide a (simplified) overview of the current situation as western culture appears to be transitioning from the "modern era" to the "post Christendom era" (though the latter may be termed several other ways). At this point it becomes important to say that few preachers are actually involved in a Post-Everything Culture because most contexts share characteristics of both eras. Probably, it should be a Post-Somethings Culture! We seem to be on our way to some new ways of thinking and relating yet often within old patterns. So what are the most significant changes that matter for preaching? I'll post again in a couple of days!

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