Thursday, January 28, 2016

Random passing thought

When I took homiletics in the seminary -- that's the course in which they attempt to teach you how to prepare and deliver sermons -- one of the first lessons was: Never begin by closing the Bible and then saying, "What Jesus is trying to say here ..."

Ever notice how often you hear sermons that explain why what Jesus said -- Turn the other cheek, or just about anything else in the Sermon on the Mount, for example -- is not what he meant?

6 comments:

Mitchell is Moving said...

It's ironic that people can't even get it right when they try to explain what "I'M" trying to say here and yet so many know precisely what Jesus was trying to say (whether he ever really even said what they're quoting from).

You get what I'm trying to say here?

Michael Dodd said...

I totally get what you are saying. Now if someone were to say to me, "What Sarah Palin is trying to say is ..." I might listen, but I am not sure how they would have figured it out.

Mitchell is Moving said...

Oh, please, not even Sarah Palin has a clue what Sara Palin is trying to say.

Michael Dodd said...

True dat!

Ur-spo said...

I guess I had not realized until now pastors are actually taught how to give a sermon.
I suppose I've heard enough bad ones to think this is not the case. Now I wonder ... if there is such teaching did some of my pastors sleep through this course.

Michael Dodd said...

Ur-spo,
I had two homiletics courses and each was okay in its way. But I had the good fortune to live with one of the best preachers I ever knew, and he preached almost daily at the community Mass in the monastery where I lived for four years. I learned more from hearing him and noticing how he preached than I did from the formal courses. I learned a lot from another priest in the monastery who was not the best at sermons -- we students unkindly called him "The Wizard of Uh's" -- but he was an excellent teacher in a classroom setting. I learned from him how to connect an idea with an interesting story or a striking image.

I suspect what many of us clergy (or ex-clergy) types needed was a basic course in how to give a speech and how to communicate an idea clearly and succinctly.