Thursday, May 22, 2008

This stays with me....

Anna Carter Florence said, in her lecture, that her students ask her always, "Can we talk about ourselves in sermons?" She replies: "If only they knew! Even if you never say a word about yourself, people will know all about you when you preach, by how you interpret the scriptures. They will know.....
where you are willing to go -- and where you're not,
what you are willing to read -- and what you are not,
what you believe with all your heart --
and what you don't."

Probably the most profound words for preachers I heard all week.

18 comments:

FranIAm said...

Oh that is good - and I am not even a preacher.

Thanks Diane.

Jan said...

Thanks, Diane. Hope you're feeling better, too.

Singing Owl said...

That stayed with me too! So many nuggets this week! I wish I could clone myself, because I hate to miss anything, but I am getting so tired! I missed Naomi Tutu tonight, which I hated doing, but I just couldn't deal with the congestion of people. Crowds make me a bit claustrophobic...but what a rich time.

Where are all the Rev Gals and Pals hiding, anyhow? ;-)

Barbara B. said...

I agree--profound!

Presbyterian Gal said...

My pastor told me, after I did a very moving drama in church, that sometimes preaching is like standing naked in front of a lot of people.

.....at least I took that as an allegory. ;)

I hope your migraine has gone on a permanent holiday.

LawAndGospel said...

What a great insight- thanks for sharing it. I too used to think the headaches were sinus headaches when they were migraines. I feel your pain- prayers for relief.

davenu said...

I believe this nugget is right on the money. Even in my limited experience thus far, people have told me that when I use stories, they just know that the charater in the story is me. Not always, but sometimes they are right.

Pastor Eric said...

This is SO true. Thank you for sharing this. But I wonder how many people actually catch these glimpses of the pastor's heart and soul in the sermon.

This also take me back to my "Sermon Stealing" post. How can you truly bare your heart and soul when your using some else's sermon. Was this addressed at all?

Singing Owl said...

Pastor Eric, this was adressed again and again and again by many voices.

Lindy said...

I don't like hearing about the preacher's personal life. It does not interest me and is not why I came to church. When a preacher starts talking about themselves I always think it's because they don't have anything to say about the text. The occasional illustration is OK. One per sermon please. But keep the family stuff at home. I also feel that if you can't say it in 10-12 minutes you've probably not thought it through very well. Just me.

Lindy said...

Bruce Willis is a Lutheran? Who knew! I love the additions you've made to your blog Diane. Very classy and informative.

Diane said...

Lindy (and others), I don't think the preacher was advocating for us talking about our personal life in our sermons. She was making the point that as we interpret the Word, both our virtues and our failings will become apparent to our listeners, whether we want them too, or not.

I'm not sure if this makes any more sense. but she means, that the Word will work through and in us. People will see what in the text we struggle with, what in the text gives us hope, what in the text we are afraid to look at, what we doubt.... just by where we go and how we choose to interpret.

I think I get that. It's not "whether I talk about myself or not." It's about.. oh, I think I'll preach on this verse, because I really like this one....but I'll avoid this verse, because it makes me feel ill, or I don't understand it myself, etc.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Yes, that's true of writers too. When I was a full-time editor, I always felt that I eventually knew the inner workings of my writers' minds.

I hope you didn't have a recurrence of your headache.

Kievas said...

I'll echo FranIAm's comments...I'm not a preacher either, although I've played one before :)

mompriest said...

Not only that but sometimes I have intentionally said who and I am and what I am without talking about me at all....when I worked for small church and it was going through its very conservative stage I did a lot of "teaching" which revealed to them exactly who I am...but in a subtle kind of way that they could take...so, yeah, she is right on!

Linda said...

Anna Carter Florence's sermon and lecture were among the highlights of the week for me. I think she's right on in what she's saying about how our preaching reveals a lot about us, whether we ever actually speak about our own experiences or not.

On another note, it was a delight to meet you and J. at Tuesday night's dinner. I thoroughly enjoyed sitting with you all. Sorry to hear you had a migraine during the week, but hope you're feeling much better now.

bythesea said...

I found Anna to be very insightful and inspiring as well as authentically telling it like it is and also seems to follow her own advice. Glad I got the chance to hear her.

Magdalene6127 said...

Yes, I agree thoroughly Diane... what she said stays with me (kind of haunting me, to be truthful!). It was wonderful.