Some people nap regularly, but Thurman nodded off only when my sermon deserved it. When his attention wilted, I knew to check the temperature of my rhetoric.
Thurman was my thermometer. One of those thermometers hanging on a doorpost on a barn; a red alcohol glass tube, black numbers printed on a rusty-edged white steel back, advertising a feed business that died in the fifties. If Thurman's eyelids dropped, I knew my sermon had cooled off dangerously. Soon the congregation would pass from open-eyed catnapping to cold-cave hibernation. Even I was bored.
I need some homiletical friction. My notes aren't bad, they just aren't all that hot. I don't need something nuclear. I need to be more clear. I may be preaching too much story without a point, or too much point without a story. My reasoning may be thin or my illustrations may be fat. I may need a whopper illustration to materialize in my head while I wave my arms in thin air.
I fast-forward through my notes looking for the place to light ...1