Thursday, September 13, 2007

Preaching Re-Imagined

The last preaching book I read was A. Stanley’s Communicating for a Change. That book made me question much of what I was taught about modern preaching. Then I read Doug Pagitt’s Preaching Re-Imagined and that book caused me to question the entire practice of preaching as we know it. Pagitt commonly referrers to preaching to “speaching.” Here is a brief description of speaching: a well educated and often paid Christian (typically know as “the preacher”) jams himself in a office to study, pray, and write without the impute of other from within community of faith but stand before the community to deliver a speech that declares the oracles of God to the people for their spiritual development. Though some see no problems with this type of preaching some, like Pagitt see major problems.

Problem One: Jesus Christ is the mediator between God and man. Preaching, as we know it, views the preacher as the mediator.

Problem Two: Let’s face it…much of the church is ignorant of the Scriptures. In fact they know more about what the preacher said than what the scriptures teach. Modern preaching says, “I’m the official preacher therefore I can properly administer the Word of God and you have limited knowledge therefore should have limited impute. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about.” Most Christians have no desire to learn the Scriptures because their preacher will tell them what to know.

Problem Three: Perceptive and application is limited to the preacher. The idea that one person, no matter who sensitive to the community, can provide an exhaustive list of perceptive and ways a text can implicate the entire community is ridiculous.

I could go on and on about the short comings of preaching as we know it.

I would be crazy to recommend this book to anyone that defends the traditional church as we know it. It attacks the very heart of it’s existence…to preach the Word of God. But like Pagitt, I do not believe that the church’s primary reason of existence is to preach God’s Word. Therefore, this belief gives me freedom and breathing room ask “What’s the purpose of preaching!?!?”

I recommend this book to all youth workers that feel they have to deliver a well polished presentation in order for students to learn. I recommend this book to every post-modern thinker that sees major holes in the traditional and contemporary church. I recommend this book to every young preacher whose open minded enough to reconsider their beliefs and convictions on preaching as they know it.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Be the Change

The focus of our Jr/Sr. High youth groups has thus far been on helping the poor and oppressed. I really want students to know that they can make a big difference in this world to help others. With this in mind, I read the book Be the Change, a book written by a student for other students to read. The author is Zach Hunter, a 15 year old student and a modern day abolitionist (one who frees slaves). To be honest, I speed read this book. I think the best part of this book could have been the summary questions asked at the end of each chapter. I’m really hoping students will take the time to read this book and answer the chapter questions.

Faith or Observance of the Law/Traditions

Could the Law of the Old Testament be compared to traditions of today’s church? This thought came to me as I read the letter to the Galatians. It is an interesting comparison.
• Paul asked, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit by observing the law or by believing what you heard? (Gal. 3:2)” I would ask a similar question, “Do you receive the Holy Spirit by observing Christian traditions?”
• Paul said, “After beginning with the Spirit are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” (Gal. 3:3) As we work toward the goal I see so many decisions being made to continue the traditions of the past and thus neglecting the fresh wind of the Spirit for the future.
• Paul said that all who rely on the law are under a curse (Gal 3:10). I would say that those who are trapped in traditional Christianity are also cursed; not necessarily to hell but to a very legalistic version of faith.
• As the law is not opposed to God’s promises (Gal. 3:21) therefore neither do our traditions.
• Paul noted that the law held us prisoners until faith was revealed therefore the law helped lead us to Christ (Gal. 3:23 &24). “Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the Law. (Gal. 3:25)” If the comparison can be made, traditions can hold us prisoners until we come to faith. Traditions can help lead us to Christ.

Perhaps I am bending this scripture too much but not so much that I am breaking it. The Law has its purpose but it also has its limitations. Like wise, traditions have their purpose but they have their limitation as well. We are not a people of just the Law or just of traditions. We are people of faith in Jesus Christ. The law is still apart of us as well as our traditions but must not let these determine who we are on what we do.

Bottom line, I think Paul was trying to make faith if Christ supreme in these verses. Like wise, I believe today’s Church needs to make faith in Christ supreme over the it’s traditions. The tradition are not wrong but they can be limiting.