Dancing the Edge of Mystery

In my post called “Settlements” I mentioned I was rereading a book I was introduced to in school.  The book is The Sermon: Dancing the Edge of Mystery by Eugene Lowry. At the time of my first attempt to read this book I did not understand most of it. There were number of reasons for this not to be articulated here, but the reread has produced some great thoughts on preaching.  Even now I still don’t get it all or agree with it all, however this does not mean it has not valuable. Here are a few gems:

“Preaching is less a architectural science and more a horticultural art.” pg. 12

Quoting Fred Croddock “…anticipation is key. Hence, the sermon ought to move from expectation to fulfillment.” pg. 18

Quoting David Buttrick “The trick in preaching is to use ordinary vocabulary in the extraordinary service of the gospel, dancing the edge of mystery.” pg. 37

Quoting R.E.C. Browne, “Ultimately the preacher’s work is to help people to be in a state of mind where perception is possible, that is, in a state where their minds are open and receptive to the divine action.” pg. 37

“The centrality of movement. You can feel it inside Craddock’s observation that preaching depends not just in getting something said, but in getting heard.” pg. 55

Quoting Browne again, “Great preaching, like great art, cannot be the work of those who know no chaos within them and it cannot be the work of those who are unable to master the chaos within them.” pg. 70

“Silent thought and oral speech are quite different perceptual and epistemological realities.” pg. 91

Quoting Thomas Troeger, “The preacher’s voice uses words and the physical properties of sound to draw people beyond the message that is being articulated into the presence of God.” pg. 117

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