Preacher, don’t let your perspective become an idol god. Too often preachers, in taking firm stances on religio-political controversial issues, fail to demonstrate how their biblical and theological positions align with what the Jesus of the gospels declared he was anointed to do – bring good news to the disinherited ones; light the way for those who sit in darkness; and liberate the multitudes of hurting, societally injured persons whose dignity-robbing wounds of spiritual and physical despair require more than band-aid dressing (Lk 4). These are principal requirements of life-cross-resurrection preaching.
Therefore, a Christian preacher has two choices and only two: (1) dare to preach in the Jesus tradition having a full-throated commitment to Luke 4 or (2) slide into the sleek contentment of homiletical nothingness. To choose the former is to grapple with the question, “How does what I preach affirm and protect the hearer’s human dignity and personhood?” To choose the latter, well, is to preach unlovingly and become what the apostle from Tarsus called a “noisy gong and clanging cymbal” (1 Cor. 13:1b).
Oh sure, we can hear you. But as the people of my cradle community of East Waco, Texas, would say, you ain’t saying nuthin’!
Preaching that brings clarity to the sacred and articulates what should be an appropriate response to the sacred is rooted in what Jesus did in pursuit of the spiritual and psychic wellness of others in tandem with moral concerns and ethical prescriptions.
Two sermons I was privileged to hear in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s rulings last week struck me as particularly meaningful theological conversations that were mindful of what it means to preach and teach in the Jesus tradition.
Adapted and excerpted from Kenyatta Gilbert’s Exodus Preaching: Crafting Sermons about Justice and Hope. For autographed copies, visit The Preaching Project Store
Rev. Racquel C.N. Gill
Minister for Intercultural Engagement at Duke University Chapel in Durham, NC.
“Believing and Belonging” – Acts 8:26-40.
Scripture reading begins at 27:00.
Sermon begins at 38:30.
Rev. Joseph Scrivner, Ph.D.
Pastor of Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church and Dean of Chapel at Stillman College, Tuscaloosa, AL
“The Least of These: Christianity and Abortion” Matthew 25:31-36