Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Barbara Brown Taylor- Comments on her second keynote

Ah, yes, just a week ago I was on an airplane to Tulsa to have my ears blessed by Fred and Barbara (we're that close now). Here are my notes from Dr. Taylor's second talk where she addressed, "Preaching to the Heart."
  • Talking about how we bring our lives and all that we are into the pulpit, "We are as transparent as dragonfly wings." (I love that one).
  • Ask yourself what engages your own heart- what piece of scripture do you keep going back to? What other words is your heart drawn to? At this point Dee leans over and asks if I have a "signature" scripture- one I really identify with. Hers is Micah 6:8 (what does the Lord require of you oh mortal, but to do justice and love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.", that same scripture has been very formative for me (I mean I had it printed on my ordination bookmarks!!), however as of late the words of Jeremiah 29:11 have really been giving me life, (for I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.) What scripture speaks deeply to your own heart dear readers of this blog?
  • What do speakers who feed you have in common?
  • What qualities keep you fully alive for preaching and how do you feed those qualities?
  • What language feeds the people in your church (heart food)? What language breaks their hearts?
  • Follow the one dying person rule: Imagine that there is one person each Sunday hearing your sermon who doesn't have long to live- don't waste their time! Give them something good. Share with them the life-giving quality of the gospel.
  • Every face, every body in the pews has his or her own story- address their story by telling God's story until those two stories become one.
  • The Sunday sermon is how you minister to most of the people most of the time
  • People are longing for an experience of the living God- an intimate union with God.
  • The sermon (for Disciples and others who take weekly communion) is a prelude communion. The good news is that it is only one course of a 6 to 7 course meal (songs, prayers, scripture are some other courses)
  • The sheer act of showing up over and over again is an embodiment of God's presence with the people.
BBT (for short) also had us participate in two activities.
1. One was to divide a piece of paper in half and write on one side "What is killing me or my congregation," and on the other side, "What I know gives me or my congregation life." It was so interesting to make these lists and share them!
2. She talked about giving rich detail in sermons- especially using images to describe abstract concepts. So she gave us three words, one at a time: salvation, sin, and glory (glaw-ree as we say in the South) and asked us: What does this word look like? Sound like? Feel like? She and Craddock both talked about engaging all the senses in your descriptions and images.

Dee and I left feeling so blessed, by both the lectures and the worship services. The organist at First Christian Church in downtown Tulsa was incredible!

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