Further Thoughts on Preaching

In the continuing discussion on preaching and originality (begun here and continued here), I have another piece to add from a comment M made while working on a sermon for Trinity.

She reminded me that it is often in the context of writing and attempting to communicate to others we both do our intellectual work and the theological synthesis that connects our studies and meditations with embodied life.

This is an important piece of the puzzle especially when the daily grind of parish ministry seems to devalue intellectual and contemplative work.

Again, I think there’s much attractive about working from patristic and other models for our proclamation. But this observation cuts to one of the things that makes me uncomfortable about it. Bringing up the riches of the past for the edification of our current congregations should not become an excuse to avoid the intellectual and contemplative work–and it certainly doesn’t have to. I fear with most of the Internet borrowing, though, it does… If the integrative work is not done, the priests own spiritual growth and depth suffers and when that happens, it impoverishes the congregation as well.

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