One of the truly interesting things about religion in general is the notion of preaching. Depending on how broad one's definition of preaching is, it can mean any number of things. For some, it is something like a sales pitch. For others, it is an opportunity to monologue with minimal interruption, like little more than public speaking. Those who preach and those who listen, however, generally note a distinct difference between a public speech (be it political or for business) and a sermon. For the Churches of Christ, preaching has a recognizably significant place in our time of worship.
Since preaching (sometimes referred to as homiletics) in the CofCs can be so many different things, any discussion here will almost certainly have to be very broad in nature. So for now let us entertain the possibilities of just what preaching is in the CofCs. This post is mostly a chance for me to outline this discussion. Here are the things I wish to cover in the next several posts:
- Defining Preaching: What is it? Can its definition affect its purpose and outcome?
- Spoken Word: The purpose of preaching
- The High Place: Preaching's level of value in our tradition; is it a big deal?
- That's What (S)He Said: What gets preached and (possibly) why
- Preaching and Theology: The inseparable nature of homiletics and hermeneutics
In some ways, I rather like the way I set up the discussion on worship: what it is, why we do it, and a critique. However, I want to take this opportunity to stretch myself and see whether there is a better way to encounter these different aspects of the tradition from which I come. If you think there is a better way to discuss the matter of preaching, feel free to tell me in the comments. I'm always eager for good ideas.
Grace and peace,