If your sermons were on TV, like those of Reverend Jeremiah Wright or John Hagee, how would you come across to the watching public? Neither Wright’s nor Hagee’s preaching, at least the soundbites we heard, sounded very attractive to the general public which is why the media had such a field day with them.
Which brings us to our preaching each Sunday. Probably none of us have endorsed a major presidential candidate, but we still have the same choices Wright, Hagee, and others have. First, we can choose to “preach to the choir” by hitting the chords we know will generate “amens” from our hearers. Of course, reading the New Testament, it’s hard to find Jesus getting a lot of amens from his preaching and teaching. The most benign response he got was the unknowing blank stares of his own disciples; the most violent when the mob tried to grab him and throw him off a cliff. Now that’s some sermon!
The other choice we have is to just tell the story. Sometimes the gospel story really excites folks and we get a lot of “amens.” Sometimes, as a preacher friend of mine says, we only get “oh me’s.” But good preaching, I heard a preacher say years ago, ought to “warm your heart, stretch your mind, and tan your hide.” Seems like a good balance to me. What do you think?