First “official” sermon
May 7, 2007
I had my first “official” sermon yesterday, I think it went well, I got some honest and
constructive critique from a good friend, which I will consider in future, thanx. I
preached on Psalm 8 in the end, about how we find our worth in the relationship God chose to have with people. When the poet of Psalm 8 looks at creation, he sees that humans are a very small part thereof, why then does God care about humans? Well, he concludes, it’s because God chose to make us the partner of God (Brueggemann).
But I kind of find the monologue nature of sermons in our churches a bit uncomfortable.
Although I talk a lot (those who know me will most probably consider this an
understatement), I don’t like doing it for 20 minutes without end, and without someone
responding. I really struggle with how we can make our gathering more of a dialog, rather
than a monologue. I know about all the fancy theories, where we say that the congregation talks back in songs, or worked out responses, and God talks like that as well, but ever since I was a child this didn’t quite seem right. If we want a dialog, then let us really have a dialog. But then again, will we just have another Bible study? Isn’t there something like teaching as well? Where one person in a congregation gives info to others? We find this all over the Bible, don’t we?
I guess I don’t mind talking, but would just appreciate a response from time to time,
just to know whether everyone else is still on the same wavelength I am, and also that I
am really touching on the issues in the community, and not just some hypothetical issues
I constructed behind my computer.
This brings me to some of my critique to what I get taught in homiletics (the art of
preaching, or something like that). I believe, simply because this was my experience, maybe some other people have experienced this differently, please let me know then, that I listen best to someone that I actually know. I once attended a sermon of one of my lecturers, now, homiletics isn’t his subject, and he broke about every rule in the book, but I listened, because I actually wanted to hear what he had to say. Now, I don’t say that communication skills is unimportant, simply that a good relationship is more important. At least, that is what I think at the moment.
However, that bring us back to the question of monologue or dialog, and it’s not such an
easy question. Doug Pagitt, which was one of the most interesting writers on this topic,
experimenting with it in practice, also admitted that they struggle to make the sermon
more than mere monologue. What’s your thought? Anyone ever attend sermons where this work differently? Or maybe we shouldn’t call it a sermon anymore if it works differently?