Remember the ads where a soprano hits a stratospheric note, a crystal goblet shatters, and the announcer asks, "Is it live, or is it Memorex?"

I recently taught a twelve-week class on "Theology in Plain Language" to the combined junior high and senior high students at our church. Several times during those weeks as I performed mental (sometimes physical) gyrations in an effort to make doctrine come alive for this hard-to-impress bunch, I felt the disadvantages of having to perform "live."

One drawback, of course, is being compared to the people on Memorex. The class atmosphere would never be confused with the sight-and-sound experience of an Amy Grant concert.

My well-meaning but low-budget (not to mention low-talent) efforts would never be as spellbinding as the professional up-front communicators.

I sensed again what one pastor expressed this way: "It's tough to preach when I know some big-name preacher has already covered this topic-and done it better than I ever will." The experience forced ...

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