Monday, October 15, 2007

On preaching the text, not the subtext

Today I have a classic Jon Stewart sketch for you. Full disclosure:  I am a Canadian and, like most of my fellow Canadians, I am counting down the months until President Bush is out of office.

But I'm not posting this video (solely) to make a political point. It's a clever analysis of speech-making, as relevant to preachers as to politicians.

Stewart pillories the President for delivering the subtext of his speeches instead of the text. Don't we preachers sometimes make the same mistake? If Bush arguably is a meta-President, perhaps sometimes we are meta-preachers!

For example, say you want to convey to a congregation that the word of God is living and active. Do you tell them that:  "I'm here to assure you that the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword"? Or do you deliver a message that will cause the hearers to experience the word carrying out its mysterious work, quickening and convicting them?

So we're not laughing at you, Mr. President. We're laughing ruefully with you.
[snigger snigger snigger]


Knotwurth Mentioning said...

Hehehe. Quote of the day: "Some leaders are men of words, some men of action. President Bush is a man who uses words to describe action!"

Phil Sumpter said...

I love that! 'Meta President', I need to remember that!

dan said...

Wow, that is probably the best Jon Stewart clip that I have seen. Thanks for pointing it out.

Grace and peace.