Thursday, November 13, 2008
I have read two more chapters in "Preaching To A Shifting Culture: 12 Perspectives On Communicating That Connects" , edited by Scott M. Gibson. (For a link to purchase this book, please see earlier articles.) In "Who's Listening Out There?" by David Hansen, Hansen outlines his concerns about reducing the Biblical content of our sermons. According to Hansen, the decisions a preacher makes about the life and values of his congregation affects the whole of his sermons and ultimately, the preacher's own theology. If a preacher decides that his congregation cannot handle sermons with a healthy amount of Biblical content, he will edit out the content and in the process come to believe that not only do they not need the content, but that the preacher himself does not need to concern himself with it either. As the preacher switches his focus away from Biblical content to the various concerns of his congregation, preachers become pluralists, trying to reach people with a myriad of messages. If we assert that our preaching must reflect the culture, should our preaching have reflected the culture from years past. Hansen points out that much preaching in the past was to affirm a culture that contained many inequities, such as racism. Should the preachers then ignored the issue so that the prevailing culture not doubt itself. Anyway, that is just what happened in the past and in the process the Church lost its prophetic voice. The other article, "Preaching To The Whole Church" by Alice P. Matthews, is a history of the decline of male participation within the Church. As male attendance has declined, the Church's theology and hymns became feminized. Matthews calls upon the Church to rectify then situation by three approaches: one, to return ritual to mark the seasons in mens' lives, two, to call men to a life of struggle and warfare, and three, seek to teach a brotherly love that appeals to men and causes them to lay down their lives for others.