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Birthing a Sermon

A step-by-step guide to bringing the text alive.

Garrison Keillor, on A Prairie Home Companion, tells about Uncle Cal, a deacon at the church in fictitious Lake Wobegon. Uncle Cal evaluates his pastor's preaching this way: "It's a lot of, 'On the one hand this, on the other hand that.' He never comes out straight with it. Many a Sunday I've walked away with no idea what he said. He never puts the hay down where the goats can get it."

Yes, there are some preachers who have a lot of hay, vast amounts of exegetical information. They're theologically aware. They like to study ancient languages. They have the hay, but they don't know what the goats are talking about or thinking about. And what's worse, they don't know that they don't know the goats. Often they don't even like the goats. They would prefer not to be around goats. They forget that the first test of good teaching is not what the teacher has taught; it's what the learner has learned. They have all this wonderful hay, but ...

From Issue:Summer 2007: Visualcy
May/June
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