Sunday, June 10, 2007

Reflection on Preaching Blogging and other things in my life

My energies have been elsewhere. I am not one that can easily dash off a blog post, when I am not ready or don't have the energy to write something substantial. In part this is because I don't want to say something just for the sake of having something to post on my blog. I have plenty of things I'd like to blog about, but none of my ideas of come into a coherent form. Plus, preaching is becoming more challenging. I am honing my style and skill, but also, I think Reconciler is growing as a congregation and it is a more challenging place to preach than it was a year ago. I am also growing as a pastor and I am more aware of the various currents in our small congregation. So since I posted at Pentecost I have been preparing for and recovering from preaching on the Trinity for Trinity Sunday.

I am attempting to work out how I want to present my sermons now that I don't write out a manuscript. My process seems to be to write a rough manuscript and then reduce it to an outline, and expand the outline and then preach with simply outline and Scripture text. Which means the sermon is only finally "written" when I preach. From the responses of my colleagues, congregation and wife this process is very good for preaching. However, thus does mean I don't have a coherent written form to post on the congregations blog. At the same time I am finding that my theology is being clarified and formed by may preaching, that I think it is worthwhile to find a way to have a written form of what I have been preaching of late.

In a sense I am doing theology with my sermons. Now one might say, isn't that what sermons are preached theology? Well yes, or at least I hope so, but in the past my preaching has been a form of applied theology. I would read the texts and say oh yes this is what I feel lead to say around these texts, things I already knew about the texts. But now I am finding that the Scriptures are pushing my own thinking and reflections and that I am finding my thinking formed in the process of sermon preparation.

And that is only one development. I am painting more, and have more ideas for painting. I have also been asked to write an icon for my friends Wedding in the fall. And I will probably be making a processional cross for Reconciler. The Pulse was great and we are in the process of planning the next one, while that is quite wonderful planning such a thing even when I am not the main organizer takes energy and time.

I have been for sometime rethinking certain positions I left seminary holding. Can't really say my positions have changed, put I can't say either that they haven't. On these issues it isn't so much the conclusions I believe to be wrong as what underlies the conclusions, and some assumptions and presuppositions held that I am now questioning. This largely I think is the fruit of a trajectory I began to head down right at the end of my seminary and only took full root in the two years between receiving my M. Div. and being called to join the church planting team of Church of Jesus Christ Reconciler. This trajectory was in taking more seriously that the Church is a particular thing, and that the Gospel is not simply an idea that can take a number of possible forms but is itself a form. That is Tradition rightly understood is a necessary component of Church and Gospel. I cannot understand the Gospel unless I understand its form and the its development through its transmission from Jesus and the Apostles to our own time. Taking on such a robust view of Church and Gospel challenges much of what passes for Christianity in our current context, as well as challenges positions I have held and still hold.