Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 18 May 2022

Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones ViaMedia.News Being a Gay Christian and an Ordinand in the Church in Wales

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love The dangerous theology of Ian Paul

LGBTQ Faith UK Party like it’s 1753. (The Power of Love)

Daniel French Save The Parish Let Bishops be Bishops

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Listening to Sermons. A critical perspective

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Kate
Kate
1 month ago

I think Stephen Parsons doesn’t go far enough: we should abolish sermons. Firstly, a significant proportion are indeed terrible and discourage people from attending church, but the bigger problem is that they are a vector for the minister to present HIS/HER version of the Bible.
 
A far better approach would be for one of the bishops each week to prepare a high quality video address, no more than 10 minutes long, with supporting graphics etc and play it to all congratulations nationwide. It would have the added advantage of freeing up time for overworked parish ministry.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Kate
1 month ago

A splendid idea. The talks could all come from Dear Leader, in fact, and could be bookended by “Arirang” displays performed by diocesan loyalists on a rota with an annual prize for the most moving. Now that I think on it, this notion and its tentacles have much to commend them, not least the organised wailing on the death of a hierarch. I am curiously engaged by the prospect of flower arrangers working in synchronicity.

Michael H
Michael H
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

A dreadful idea. I’ve never known a bishop preach for a mere ten minutes. The current House of Bishops are not known for their outstanding grasp of theology. Are worshippers so uneducated that they need supporting graphics like ‘Watch with Mother’ or Teletubbies? Some churches still use BCP readings on a Sunday so any sermon foisted on them wouldn’t relate to the readings. Others would think it anathema to impose on their congregations a sermon written by a bishop with a different view of Biblical interpretation.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Michael H
1 month ago

Yes, people should EXPECT graphics.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Michael H
1 month ago

Yes, but maybe if 6 bishops each weekend submitted a 2-minute sermon, and we could have a telephone phone in like Eurovision, where people vote for their favourite 2-minute slot to their diocesan office. Each diocese then goes live to announce their scores and make sassy comments.

The best bishop each weekend gets through to the semi-finals where the process is repeated, and then you have ‘Grand Final Sunday’.

Of course it might be a bit sensitive if anyone scored ‘nul’ points, but humility is a virtue anyway.

I think you’ve cracked it, Kate.

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

Maybe a quarterly “Preach-off”… or a weekly “Britain Can Preach.”

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

Hmmm

Do you honestly think that parish ministers have enough time to prepare a high quality weekly sermon? I don’t.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Kate
1 month ago

Coming down from my “Bishops Got Talent” brainwave, which of course was me being facetious, I certainly agree that from witnessing priests in parish life, the pastoral burden of their responsibilities is huge, so you have at least dared to think the unthinkable. In my view, at all stages of Christian life we need teaching, and a weekly reflection on scripture seems to me a kind of discipline, which ties in with the priests intimate knowledge of his parishioners and community. But that is teaching (which admittedly could be carried out by a team beyond the sermon status). However, there… Read more »

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Kate
1 month ago

Preaching is part of the ministry of a parish priest. A priest is “minister of Word and Sacrament.” There is something very wrong if clergy don’t have the time to prepare a sermon. I prefer to give my attention for about 8 minutes. Ten at the most. Perhaps some clergy do not have time or cannot make time; I don’t think that downloading a video is the solution. Even daily services should have a short homily. Watching livestreams during Covid, I notice the ConEvo parishes devote 35 to 45 minutes for the sermon. I don’t mind admitting that I fast-forward… Read more »

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Michael H
1 month ago

You say “some” churches use BCP readings on a Sunday. Is that not normal? Or is it usual for the minister to select readings that complement his/her sermon topic?

Simon Sarmiento
Reply to  Richard
1 month ago

Richard, in England, a majority of churches follow the Common Worship lectionary (3 year cycle of Sunday readings) while a minority follow the 1662 BCP Lectionary (one year cycle).

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
1 month ago

Thank you for the clarification. I’ve watched many livestream services during Covid, and nothing surprises me now!

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Richard
1 month ago

I am afraid an increasing number of churches seem to be sitting light or abandoning an authorized lectionary. A discovery I made when coming out of retirement to help with post ordination training.

Martin M
Martin M
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
1 month ago

Either option would be preferable to the 8 week series on 4 verse Colossians that we currently’enjoy’

Graeme Buttery
Graeme Buttery
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

I totally agree Stanley. We could actually shorten the whole thing and have the same message each week: ” Big Jesus is watching you and loves you.” As for flower arrangers, save the eplanet and do away with flowers altogether. We could save the laity more time by only using recorded music and up the quality of musical offerings in most parishes. In fact, why not go the whole hog and close our churches and watch the bishop on Zoom? O, wait…

Graeme Buttery

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Kate
1 month ago

I would strongly resist such a suggestion. As a parish priest who has been in my current parish for 22 years, I know most of the people here really well; their faces and their qiuestions and struggles are in my mind each week as I prepare my sermons. A Bishop from far away is not going to have that sort of connection. Also, I know the culture of my own parish, so I can use illustrations and make applications that fit the local culture. A Bishop from far away would not have that knowledge.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Isn’t the idea that we trust the Spirit to work in each person present and give them the insights to make it personally relevant?

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Kate
1 month ago

I certainly trust that the Spirit will do that, and I also expect that one of the ways the Spirit will do that is through the hard work of the person preparing the sermon.

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Kate
1 month ago

Insights… even without graphics.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Kate
1 month ago

I would note that this is not an entirely new idea – the principle of centrally produced material taking the place of that produced by local clergy goes back at least to the Book of Homilies that accompanied the BCP.

Fr John Harris-White
Fr John Harris-White
1 month ago

Lloyd, Thank you for your thoughtful contribution. They are my thoughts exactly.
I am now a retired Anglican priest in my 88th year. Made a Deacon in 1962, and ordained priest in 1963 in Bristol cathedral.

Fr John Emlyn

Bernard Silverman
Bernard Silverman
1 month ago

Kate. Thank you for the unintended typo: play it to all “congratulations”…that’s of course what they would like to think. Is that what gave Susannah the Eurovision idea? My amendment— get a two minute recorded presentation from a bishop whose views are the most extreme in the direction different from the assembled congregation. Then have an eight minute _genuinely_ free discussion. (Nobody allowed more than 30 seconds.) That will make everyone feel better in these depressing times and everyone will go away even clearer in their original views. Regardless of which was the extreme direction in question. Finally have a… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Bernard Silverman
1 month ago

“Most seriously. A good sermon is a coproduction of the preacher and the congregation even if the latter are (usually) silent. Even in the days of zoom the audience was known to the preacher.”
 
I totally disagree with this. To use your verb, a sermon is a coproduction of the preacher and the Spirit. The preacher’s role is to produce a very high class address (complete with graphics); the Spirit then personalises it to each individual. The Spirit knows individuals far, far better than the preacher.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Kate
1 month ago

Really? The congregation are supposed to just sit there passively letting it all wash over them until the Spirit moves? I don’t think so. God gave us minds so that we might use them. We think about what the preacher is saying and engage with it. That starts the coproduction that Prof Silverman describes, at the human level. That’s not to deny the presence of the Spirit, of course, but He is easier to hear if you’re actively listening.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 month ago

I didn’t say that. The Spirit moving is likely to reveal to individuals the relevance to them (or their spiritual development) so that they think on the address.

But it’s not like a business presentation. For a business presentation I would try to target the audience – in fact I would typically vary the content interactively based on audience response. But for a sermon that intermediation is done by the Spirit.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Kate
1 month ago

We have approaches so radically different as to render the discussion fruitless, it seems.

Bernard Silverman
Bernard Silverman
Reply to  Kate
1 month ago

Thank you Kate. I absolutely agree about the Spirit in all this. I suppose I took that as read and I perhaps shouldn’t have done. So we don’t totally disagree.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Bernard Silverman
1 month ago

Back in the day a wise monk said to me that he was sure the Spirit could work through even my ego. That was then. Not so sure now.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Bernard Silverman
1 month ago

That’s good. I often feel that I am out of step with many here in terms of the faith I place in the Spirit.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
1 month ago

Surely the simplest way of dealing with the problem of sermons is to direct that all clergy read the authorised Homilies listed in Article XXXV. What could be more classically Anglican than that?

Last edited 1 month ago by Fr Dexter Bracey
Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
1 month ago

An excellent idea. Elizabeth I thought that one preacher per diocese was quite enough…

Another option is to use Austin Farrer’s ‘The Crown of the Year’ (1954), being the homilies he preached in the chapel at Trinity, Oxford, each of which were exactly the same length as the readings they expounded. Apparently, a good many clergy used that book, often unattributed, for their ‘own’ homilies in the 1950s and 1960s – even into the 1970s (I should add that Farrer is a hero of mine).

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
1 month ago

An excellent proposal, Fr Dexter. Not least as it would have saved one parish from the unedifying experience of their Vicar spending the best part of a year preaching at one person. The preacher was me and the individual a difficult ex-churchwarden. It was a while before the Spirit penetrated my ego.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
1 month ago

Sad that Mr French hasn’t noticed that not all clergy are married with a wife. Some clergy are female, and some of them might like a wife. Some of the clergy are gay and would like a husband and have to make do with a celibate civil partnership. Some clergy are happily single. I shuddered at the thought of more bishops busybodying about, heaven knows we’re micromanaged as it is.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
1 month ago

One aspect of the conversation about preaching that deserves attention is the theological expertise of the preacher. Usually the preacher knows, or ought to know, things the majority of the congregation do not. I have had some interesting conversations with bright people who clearly are trying to think through an issue. However, their thinking is often stymied by lack of technical theological knowledge. Another important aspect of preaching is noted by Tim Chesterton i.e. the preacher’s pastoral work in the parish. Homilies that are unconnected to the cares and concerns of the people in front of you, unable to connect… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

Rod says, ‘I have been preaching for over forty years. I still feel passionately about it.’

You and I are in absolute agreement on this, Rod.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Sure thing Tim. In fact, I have always had an interest and appreciation of sermons, long before I thought I would become a preacher. Now retired, and on occasion visiting other parishes/congregations as a worshipper, I am really pleased to see that there are seemingly so many preachers who love and value their preaching ministry. “There was, and poor, a parson to the town, yet he was rich in holy thought and work. He was also a learned man, a clerk, who truly knew Christ’s gospel and would preach it devoutly to parishioners, and teach it.” –Chaucer ( trans, by… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

Many thanks! I agree wholeheartedly. However, Chaucer was perhaps describing a paradigm, and at a time when public attitudes towards the clergy. even the secular parish clergy, were increasingly ambivalent. Poor parish clergy of Chaucer’s time were themselves often conscious of not getting through to their listeners: “And if a bishoppe or doctoure stond up to preche the worde of God, much pepull will drawe thetherwarde to here hym; and iff he repreve vices and synne, the pepul will not gruche never a dele ageyns hym, ne thei will not forgett is wordes. But lat a sympull preste as I… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

Another action packed and informed comment. Thanks so much Froghole. The point of the citation from Canterbury Tales is to highlight from a classic text the importance of authenticity in this case in preachers. It is a quality that transcends time and place. The summer between university and divinity school, I had a visit with my former high school values ed teacher–a R.C. priest and trained therapist. I told him with great enthusiasm that I would be studying Greek. Not impressed with my initial priorities as a future pastor, he replied, ” just don’t forget about the laos.” Noticing the… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

In the course of the past 20 years, I have experienced three different preaching styles in the same parish. The first, a highly educated man–much more highly educated than most of the congregation I would think–would often sprinkle his sermons with references to books and movies his congregation was unlikely to have read or seen…and equally unlikely to read or see even after his references. His sermons were therefore deep and impenetrable to the vast majority of his audience. The second was a personable older woman with, it seemed, an encyclopedic knowledge of the Biblical epochs, especially first century Judea.… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 month ago

Pat, interesting to have had those three different experiences, and in the same parish. As a preacher I would say that one thing on the flip side of your experience but commensurate with it, is that parishes/congregations also have a kind of ‘personality’. Having served in a number of different parishes, I found it would take me a couple of months to adjust in terms of preaching. Getting to know people and the congregation(s) was likely part of that. In fact, in a multi-point parish, each congregation has its own unique personality as well. I usually found preaching at a… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 month ago

“Show and tell” is good. I assume that training colleges teach that are 4 (or 7?) learning styles. Nobody seems to quite agree what the 4 are – some people see reading and writing as separate; others see reading and writing as the same style and add kinesthetic. I am in the latter box: Auditory Visual Kinesthetic Reading/Writing https://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/education/blog/types-of-learning-styles/ It’s very hard to cover all the learning styles in a 10 minute-or-so sermon, but a sermon which only uses auditory is axiomatically not a good sermon. Going back to Stephen Parsons piece and the meaning of the word love in… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Kate
1 month ago

I suppose one summary would be that all good sermons must be authentic. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Kate
1 month ago

I don’t know how much time the first of my examples spent on preparing a sermon (given the way he could ramble and seem to come to a conclusion and still continue, I suspect it was scant), but each of the two women has said they set aside a day (either Friday or Saturday) to devote to the sermon (of course, with thought given to it earlier in the week as well).

Based on the succinctness and organization of their results, I’d say that was sufficient for the purpose.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 month ago

“Based on the succinctness and organization of their results, I’d say that was sufficient for the purpose.”

You are probably right. I think succinctness and organisation do point to proper preparation.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Kate
1 month ago

Sermons are not a medium for children. In that regard your intervention is somewhat off side. (but see below). Rather than focusing on cognitional développent in children, better to consider principles of adult education i.e. taking into account the interests, practical situations, questions capabilities, and varying degrees of literacy of an adult audience. I sense a tendency in your comments to underestimate both adult ‘hearers of the word’ and those trained and charged with proclamation of the word. It is important to distinguish between the content of the sermon and a grasp of the make up of the audience. Cognitional… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

Any “train the trainer” course will highlight the multiple ways people learn and that any presentation should try to cover as many as possible, certainly more than one.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Kate
1 month ago

Starting from scratch, doing the reading and praying, the brainstorming, the research, the outline, the full text, then practice-preaching it, and making it into short notes to place in my Bible for the actual preaching event – thats about 6 hours from start to finish for me. Those 6 hours are the first thing I put into my calendar each week. I build everything else around that.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

But Mr Chesterton, you are hardly starting from scratch. You have many yaears experience and much knowlege.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Kate
1 month ago

Sadly, the idea that people have particular learning styles that they will always learn best with is nonsense. The style of learning needs to be adapted to the material, not to the preferences of the audience. The learning styles myth has been doing the rounds since before I trained as a teacher and is still as wrong as ever. That’s not to say that there isn’t a place for varied modes of delivery, but a good sermon could very well be entirely auditory if that is the best method to convey the ideas within it. You can claim to be… Read more »

David Exham
David Exham
Reply to  Kate
1 month ago

I am afraid that Kate’s statements about sermons leave much to be considered. Characteristically she states her views as ones that must be accepted without question, and she provides little evidence for what she asserts. She believes that all sermons must have ‘graphics’ and without them it cannot be a good sermon. This would suggest that John Donne, Lancelot Andrewes, John Wesley and the many distinguished preachers of the 19thand 20th centuries were not good preachers. Nor, for that matter, were Jesus and St Paul. The truth is that if your church has the facility to use ‘graphics’ and you, as… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  David Exham
1 month ago

“Preaching is not the same as teaching.” I think this is meant to be an important distinction. To my understanding, teaching may be quite analytical and objective (and is a great gift that some people have). I don’t see preaching that way. To me, if a sermon is to be ‘preached’ it should also form part of the whole course of the service to draw people into awareness that Jesus is present, Jesus is with us then and there in that place and that service and, as such, preaching has more of an emphasis of worship, than on the speaker’s… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  David Exham
1 month ago

I think this discussion (and I don’t just mean your contribution) fits with a church in decline. I can understand that conscience is a barrier to innovation in terms of the treatment of women and LGBT Christians, but there are no issues of conscience in terms of modernising teaching. Is it any wonder that the population of many churches is elderly when ministers won’t innovate? And, while I disapprove of many aspects of conservative evangelical theology, they have at least made services more lively. This isn’t just the age of YouTube, it is the age of TikTok. Visual AND short… Read more »

David Exham
David Exham
Reply to  Kate
1 month ago

Thank you, Kate, for responding to my comment. However, I think that going from a disagreement about teaching styles to explaining why the church is in decline is something of a stretch! This is not, of course, a matter of conscience. It’s about the nature and purpose of preaching, and how we can do that best. You continue to make what I regard as an important mistake, confusing teaching and preaching. They are very different activities. I was a teacher for 35 years, and when I was teaching, I taught my classes for 3-5 hours a week for the whole… Read more »

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
1 month ago

Daniel French describes a remodelling of episcopal ministry that surfaces from time to time. I don’t see why a couple of rural deans can’t provide the kind of immediate support and care that clergy need. I think a great deal of episcopal time is dictated by House of Bishops work and feeding the insatiable Lambeth machine. They are servants of the diocese as time allows and this is the culture that needs to change. What Daniel French is describing is, I think, the lack of collegiality between bishops and clergy. Bishops should be regularly at clergy deanery chapter and deanery… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

The sermon comments are revealing. I wonder how many commenters actually preach several times, or even once, a week. As a teacher and lecturer whose students have been complimentary about my gifts I take preaching seriously. I ask myself: what is my take-home message? can I put it across in in such a way as not to make people’s lives more burdensome or guilt ridden? and I always ask “so what? how does this affect daily life in the communities in which the listeners live?” This last point is important for I am sick of hearing sermons that are merely… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Stanley Monkhouse
Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

Many thanks, Prof. Monkhouse. Too true. Speaking for myself, what I want from sermons is education. Many churches used to have ‘lecturers’ or ‘readers’ (i.e., clergy who would lecture on aspects of doctrine, often in the afternoons). The reason why I mention this is because it is now perfectly possible to spend a lifetime attending services in the Church, and yet know or understand little about many key aspects of the faith. How often, for example, have I heard sermons on Trinity Sunday which start off along the lines of “the doctrine of the Trinity is a great mystery, and… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

The duty of the preacher to inform is paramount, I agree, and a good teacher – provoker of thought is my preferred though non-catchy phrase – is good **only** when s/he can present complexities in terms that a theologically (in this case) unread listener can appreciate. It is my experience in all the subjects I have professed that if I get that right, the struggler’s eyes are opened and the high-flier’s imagination is set alight. “Win, win” as they say. To pick up your point, the Trinity is a wonderful opportunity to explore the richness of the Divine (I wish… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Stanley Monkhouse
Mary Hancock
Mary Hancock
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

I’m with you, Stanley, and Rod too. In my experience preparing a sermon is like writing poetry. Both tend to acquire a life of their own, and are a combination of imagination, industry and inspiration. Often the finished product is quite different from what I thought it was going to be. And you cast that bread on the water, trusting that someone benefits from it. Quite often – as you’ll know – someone will say afterwards not ‘Good sermon, vicar’ (I don’t know what’s meant by that) but ‘I needed to hear that today’. In my previous career I was… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

Yes to all of this, Stanley.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

Stanley, I like your comment. It has street smarts. It is indicative of an experienced preacher. Preparing a sermon with real people in mind, exactly. I have never been taken with the vast literature of preaching ‘how to’ books; but one thing I used to recommend for reading to my SFE students was Henri Nouwen’s chapter on preaching from, Creative Ministry. “ Without any hesitance, many preachers impose feelings, ideas, questions, and problems on their hearers that are often completely unknown to the majority, if not to all of them. … Sometimes sermons are based on clerical feelings that are… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

I certainly don’t have that much experience of preaching, but I think I would struggle to explain to any congregation why the content of my sermon directly contradicted the readings and the prayers in the rest of the service. Why not ask people to believe that the risen Christ appeared in person: the first disciples were not ashamed to say so. And why choose to be offensive, even blasphemous, about it? I think such things would baffle rather than enlighten most people.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 month ago

“And why choose to be offensive, even blasphemous, about it?” Good point. I wouldn’t.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

You may not believe in the Resurrection: but describing “like a Vegas magician, (poof!)” was offensive and blasphemous. Shame on you.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 month ago

If you are going to contest my comment, try reading what it actually states. There is nothing shameful or blasphemous about rejecting the nonsense of literalism. As for ‘offensiveness ‘, there is no accounting for taste I reckon. As far as I can tell from talking to parishioners over the years, after preaching or in bible studies or workshops or inquirers groups, the cohort of faithful people who are relieved that there are alternatives to literalism is substantial. You might look at the hermeneutics of thinkers like Paul Ricoeur, Walter Brueggemann or even someone fairly centrist like Raymond Brown. I’m… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

Since I carefully repeated, inside quotation marks, the offensive phrase, your pretence that my comment was no more than an unenlightened reaction to your philosophical stance does you little credit. Perhaps, in the context of the theory and practice of preaching, the onlookers can discern a message about the difference between talking to people and listening to them. But since your comment explicitly says that you don’t care, we can bring this little discussion to an end.

Last edited 1 month ago by Unreliable Narrator
Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 month ago

With respect, you might ask yourself why my satire of biblical literalism prompted from within you the reaction indicative in your original comment? Thanks for the exchange. A blessed Ascension day to you and to all at TA.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 month ago

If a minister doesn’t believe that Jesus actually walked on water, how can s/he possibly teach the actual and physical resurrection of Jesus? An essential component of Christianity is our acceptance of things beyond our understanding. It’s called faith. Jesus goes on about it. A lot. And if we can’t get past our disbelief in a miraculous God, how can we honestly say we have faith?

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Kate
1 month ago

“If a minister doesn’t believe…”. When people accuse me of unbelief it often turns out what they really mean is that we understand the data differently. Don’t confuse faith with piety. As a preacher entrusted with the proclamation of the word, it is my job not to mistake various types of biblical literature. I accept the proclamation of the NT as grounded in authentic religious experiences. It doesn’t follow that I am incapable of recognizing legendary or apologetic or mythological material in the narrative.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

I like the attitude. I suspect your sermons are good. And, yes, many of the best preach without notes so they can react dynamically mb I also think that if you were 20-something and new in ministry that you would want more. A projector these days on Amazon is as little as £40. And if there’s no power socket, take it out of the parish share. Images don’t need to be PowerPoint. Pictures of religious paintings to accompany a story may be even better. But I still maintain that a visual component is essential, particularly if we want to interest… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
1 month ago

Interesting opinion from Stephen Parsons seventh para down, “The spiritual tradition of Ignatius of Loyola has given to Christian practice a legacy of image making. …I am instinctively drawn to this method as it makes the truth of the gospel encounter with Jesus an exercise of the imagination as much as of the mind.” Lay this along side the view of Franco Zeffirelli (that 70s move, Jesus of Nazareth), “We shot two different scenes for the resurrection, but in the end we decided to let the audience imagine it the way they wanted. With their faith and deepest feelings for this… Read more »

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