Monday, September 17, 2007

Barbara Brown Taylor

We are now safely home from Tulsa, but I owe you the rest of the account of our time at the, "Preaching Your Heart Out" Conference. As I mentioned, Rev. Dr. Taylor is someone Dee and I both admire tremendously (that's what I meant by "preacher-crush"). She has such a way with words- and stories, which I think are two marks of an excellent preacher. Without further ado, here are some highlights of her two addresses on preaching. During the first one she spoke about "Preaching from the Heart," and the next one "Preaching to the Heart."

  • She made several allusions to the Holy Spirit being alive and present during the act of preaching. When she got up to speak to us she said, "the Holy Spirit is just flapping around in here!"
  • She organized her first thoughts around three proverbs or "mantras" for preaching:
  • 1. "Appropriation of the Gospel is the minimum requirement for standing in the pulpit."- Fred Craddock. In other words- you do not have to have an M.Div, or the right voice or anything else- you just need to be "possesed of the gospel", let it make a "nest inside your heart." Also the Gosepl should be manifest i n your life, your family and your spending habits, etc.
  • Just when I was thinking, "that's a lot of pressure!" She said, "this is not the same as perfection at the practice of the Gospel" (whew!)
  • People are overwhelmed with information- don't give them information just for information's sake- instead help them to feel more fully alive
  • Ask yourself, "what feeds your deep sense of being alive in God?"
  • keep moving toward God
  • your speech must matter
  • The experience of worship should be the experience of being deeply, fully alive in one another's presence and before God.
  • 2. "You are a word, about the Word, before you ever say a word." - Dean Allen (I didn't catch who said this exactly- I think Dean is a title and not a first name)
  • How well does what you say match up with who you are?
  • "The words you say are not as important as the Word you are as you shake hands at the door."
  • You are not always the same word: Sometimes grace, sometimes judgment, etc.
  • Lots of things are out of your control- what you can control is your own aliveness (when you preach- you can't control the weather that morning, you can control whether you have had enough sleep or not)
  • quote from Irenaeus, "the glory of God is a human being fully alive."
  • "shun those things that suck the life from you"- or manage them, like church meetings, etc.
  • Sometimes you need to give your heart a break
  • 3. "Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary, use words." -St. Franics
  • before you begin preaching- look out at your congregation with love- it will make your message different
  • "my ministry more and more is to say things in the pulpit that make people feel less crazy," and less alone as well.
  • "keep an eye on your role (as minister) and your soul"

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