Monday, October 3, 2016

The Fight Before Dinner - Anna Carter Florence

June 7: The Fight Before Dinner from phpccommunications on Vimeo.

Preachers don't always need illustrations from modern life to connect the Bible with our lives today. Anna Carter Florence provides an excellent example of how to connect a single text with other examples from the scriptures in order to relate that text to our lives today. By tying the Mary/Martha story to all the other stories of squabbling siblings in the Bible, Dr. Carter Florence establishes a pattern that quickly becomes recognizable to anyone paying attention. Before she even makes the application to our lives today, attentive listeners have already made the connections for themselves. We see ourselves in that pattern of worry and concern established in the first half of the sermon and find ourselves looking to Jesus for a way out.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

"Where grammar cracks, grace erupts"

"Sometimes preachers cannot help but envy other users of words in our culture. News anchors, analysts, comics, pundits, and savants: They are so smooth. They have  but to open their mouths and out flows the spirit of the age.  They are so professional that they are able to deliver gut-wrenching information without a hint of emotional investment, and all with an air of effortless familiarity. Next to them, the preacher often appears to be fighting off a swarm of bees. Why? Because preachers are speaking from the embedded position. Because their language emerges from pastoral participation in the life and death struggles of the baptized. Speaking of the apostle Paul, who by any account we have of him was not a smooth man, Joseph Sittler said: 'Where grammar cracks, grace erupts.' He adds a stern warning to preachers: 'What God has riven asunder, let no preacher too suavely join together.'"

Richard Lischer, The End of Words, 41-42.