Saturday, December 31, 2011

NY Times Article on Gardner Taylor

This is the new book mentioned in the NYT
article. It contains sermons and a CD. Find
more at
At 93, Gardner Taylor has been one of the leading preachers in America now for many decades. He is one of the twelve preachers Baylor highlighted in their 1996 list of the most effective preachers in the English speaking world.

Yesterday, the NY Times, highlighted his training of younger preachers in the article, "A Lion of the Pulpit, Aging Now, Has a Message for New Generation." One of my favorite parts of the article is when Dr. Gardner is instructing a younger minister by making him write sermons and then practice delivering them. Dr. Gardner doesn't hesitate to offer suggestions and critiques. "Go deeper there."  Haven't we all needed to hear that critique?  Dr. Reginald High, the young minister receiving these instructions, treasures his time with the aging Dr. Taylor. What preacher wouldn't?

I have always thought the African American preaching tradition does an excellent job of having older ministers mentor younger ministers.  This is especially when it comes to preaching. Has anyone ever had an experience in which a mentor has worked with you on your preaching? What was that like for you?  Do you think it helped your preaching?

Friday, December 16, 2011

No need to make Jesus relevant

Challenging thoughts from Dr. Richard Lischer, especially as we conclude our advent preaching.  Does your preaching primarily move backward to the historical Jesus or forward to the risen Christ? 

"Because the risen Christ is alive and moving toward us from his own future, the preacher is not constrained to make him relevant as if Jesus were only a figure in the distant past. We do not have to prove that he is real because he is already here. We do not have to dig him up from his Sitz im Leben, for the movement of preaching is not backward to the historical Jesus but forward to the risen Christ."

Richard Lischer, The End of Words, 37-38.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Preaching on Money

Money is a hot topic in the news these days (when is it not?!). People constantly want to know who has it, who doesn't, who's doing what with it. You've got the Tea Partiers arguing the government has too much.  The Occupy Wallstreeters claim corporations and the ultra rich have too much. Very few people claim they themselves have too much.  Most people have know idea how their wealth or income actually compares to others.

Here are two websites that can help a person (and a preacher) to be better informed about the distribution of wealth in the world.  
  1. The Global Rich List - this site is simple enough.  Enter how much you make (be sure to change the currency from pounds to dollars) and then click "Show me the money."  You'll then be told where your income ranks globally.  Puts things in perspective pretty quickly.  Hint: Almost all of us in America are the 1%.
  2. Visualizing Economics - this site puts difficult to comprehend economic statistics in easy to understand graphics.
Here was my latest effort at preaching a difficult text on money.

Setting the Record Straight, a sermon from Luke 16:19-31.  Who are the rich?  What is their responsibility to the poor?  Politicians have their answers.  Protesters have theirs.  Jesus has his.

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