Jesus' Elevator Speech
Let's turn back to the two sermons and their analogies. One used a political metaphor (inaugural speech); the other, an entrepreneurial metaphor (elevator speech). Both preachers used their analogies to catch attention, but neither was shackled by them as Barton had been. Both moved easily to a genuine encounter with the text.
Despite my initial concerns, I believe these analogies have their virtues: An inaugural speech is both programmatic (here is what I propose to accomplish) and inspirational (these are the values we hold that should make it possible for us to achieve this together). Jesus' synagogue reading was both inspirational and programmatic. It was also political: It outlined what God wants for his beloved community.
The virtue of the elevator speech analogy is that it focuses on innovation and encapsulates a potential reality. With a clear vision, a properly equipped and supported visionary will move toward the right goal. Without a clearly defined goal, high-sounding ideals will languish.
Thanks to these analogies, I now hear Jesus' speech more acutely. I hear the hunger of the entrepreneur and the (com)passion of the social reformer. In the right hands, the analogies made the Jesus on the page come alive.
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