I preached again last week. I wrote about twice as much as I actually preached. Steve was there, and he was very encouraging. It was fun, again.
It is also really tough. I get harder on myself every time, and everyone says I get better every time. I don’t know. There are always so many holes in preaching. You can’t talk about every detail, and you can’t go too deep. Is preaching even really necessary? It’s like the equivalent of the elevator speech. Which sounds awful. One because, it’s selling something, and two because it could easily be embellished and shallow.
That’s been my struggle. I don’t want to embellish or be shallow. I don’t want to sell something. I want to try and teach something. I want to try and encourage/challenge. I want a positive introduction to what Christianity should be, what the kingdom should be, where the means are the ends.
The more I think about it, the whole homily part of church seems out of date. Originally, to teach and catechize people, that wasn’t in a worship service space at all. Ha. I sound so Catholic. All that teaching and talking is outside of worship. But this learning is also worship.
I think about my pentecostal leanings, and their preaching style is like worship. It’s like this idea of God literally speaking through whoever is preaching. Like the preachers word is the Bible. The pentecostals preach like they are speaking for God, like they are God, and they say things that they think God might stereotypically say, “I love you. But obey. Are you really obeying? Repent! Believe! You’re terrible, I love you again!” Yada Yada. Now that I look back, that’s a weird God stereotype, voice and message…
A lot of preaching is exegesis— Without using too many outside resources, what is the message here and now? There is some room for teaching historical context and criticisms, but the pulpit is not the best place to do that. Exegesis is tough. Thankfully, with the lectionary, you can pick a little bit and go for it. But five exegetical pages can easily be written on about three to five verses in the Bible. That’s why whenever someone is preaching on a large chunk or going back and forth in the Bible, I find it exhausting.
That was my challenge last week. I took a lot of material, and I could have preached on anything I wanted. The texts were ridiculously rich, and my sermon could be boiled down to Jesus’ treatment of the woman at the well and on how that’s like Paul’s reconciliation in Romans. I hardly touched on anything.
As I read my sermon, over and over, I felt like I was repeating myself: Reconcile this, reconcile that. I wanted to talk about everything. And I ended up getting some good points out, muddled with some lesser points… I still don’t know how I feel about the sermon.
The Saturday before I preached, my Presbyterian-ish friend was like, “So you’re becoming Catholic.”
“Yeah. Well, I’m getting confirmed. Like I wasn’t Catholic before…”
“Oh, well, yeah that’s true.”
“It’s ok. That’s how we say it. I’m also preaching tomorrow.”
Awkward wide-eyed pause, “How does that work?”
“Sometimes I preach at another church.”
More friends arrive breaking conversation. End scene.
Another presbyterian friend of mine said, “Yeah, it’s pretty cool. Once you do it, pretty much all tables are open to you.” He get’s it. That’s what I’m aiming for.
So, I preached on Sunday, and it was good and fun, and everyone was saying how they’re going to miss me when I move to Florida. Steve had an amazing suggestion: Women in Preaching Podcast. That’s right: WIP.
I think I’m going to do it. I started making a list of as many woman as I could think of who do preach, or have preached, or might be interested in preaching. I’ve come up with 30 people I know. Twenty more and I’ve got the year covered with sermons.
It’s a really good idea. Normal-ish average religious people haven’t busted into the podcast scene yet. The cool preachers are all busy writing books and running churches, so I figured, why not create a kind of online church.
June 13, 2016
This is the first inception of the WIPodcast. I had the podcast for about a year (2014-2015) and then couldn’t sustain it any longer. It cost money, and took time and skills, and I had bigger fish to fry. I had to work.
It was a lot of fun doing the podcast, and I loved talking with people, hearing their stories, and putting it altogether. I’ve considered doing it again, but the time and money aren’t jiving with me right now. As I see it, there is still a huge need for more women’s voices in (well, everywhere) the Religious Podcast Media world. It’s wide open. No one is there except bunches of white dudes who do Crossfit and/or have beards.
It’s crazy to me that there is still a need even over a year since I put WIP to rest.