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.