Thursday, February 15, 2007

Preaching Deadly Sins

The man who first voiced contempt for my Lenten discernment about showering had this link on his blog. The title appealed to and so I read and found places of sinfulness in my own preaching life. I am stuck on #6 like a broken record. In 7 months of weekly preaching, I think maybe 2 or 3 times did I walk away saying "that was a good sermon" and not something derrogatory or self-depricating. My mother and my best friend regularly tell me I am too hard on myself or expecting too much. "Are you really expecting to preach something novel again??" Well, actually, yes. The standards of preaching I shared with my spiritual director were: moving, transformative, profound, provacative, insightful, cohesive, flowing...

Anyway, you get the idea. This week, pre-deadly sins reading, I had an epiphany, it came to me: if I am trying for transformation every week, that means I think people should be changing every week, and not just minor changes, life changing differences. That's completely unrealistic. I mean really. I can hardly deal with major life transformation once or twice a year--that really profound soul-searching, the painful stuff that takes you into the dark corners of your soul's closets and moves you into new space. That's a pretty big expectation to place on congregants every week. Bigger than anything I would want to have asked of me by a preacher. So, I think it is time to reign in my expectations and think about more realistic goals for what can and should be the take away from my weekly preaching.

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