Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Stop Preaching! (Part Two)

(Scroll down to see my first post on this topic)

Deemphasizing preaching is not as radical idea as you might think. While the United Methodist Church (and indeed, almost every church) considers "Proclaiming the Word" and preaching synonymous, this has not always been the case. For instance, while there were itinerant preachers in the Middle Ages, they were not people's primary source of information about the Bible. Rather, they learned through visual images, such as stained glass, which, through a complex code, communicated not just a Biblical story, but interpreted it as well for the viewer.

Let me briefly suggest some ways to remedy the overemphasis on preaching.

I wonder then, what it would be like to "proclaim the word" to all people, paying equal attention to all intelligence types.

What it would look like if we proclaimed the wold in a way that appealed to intrapersonal intelligence? Maybe it would be lectio divina, where people "pray" the scriptures, listening to them several times, meditating on them and possibly sharing how God spoke to them afterwards.

What it would look like if we proclaimed the word in a way that appealed to bodily-kinesthetic intelligence? Maybe it would be a series of stations where people had the opportunity to create something (e.g. draw, paint, write, do a ritual) in response to a text.

What it would look like if we proclaimed the world in a way that appealed to interpersonal intelligence? Maybe, rather than delivering a sermon, you could lead a structured discussion on the text, preparing by having some key points, researching the text well, and providing relevant illustrations based on where the discussion goes.

Once we remove ourselves from the "preaching" box, the possibilities are endless.


cynic1 said...

1) I'm toying with the idea of using ESP in the pulpit.

2) GREAT idea to use lectio divina within the context of worship.

Ben Davis said...

I've actually use a group lectio divina process before in worship, and it went over quite well. We had people sharing really deeply from their lives. In the end, the only way to find out, I think, whether these ideas will work or will end up flying like a lead balloon is to try them.