All right, let me be straight foward here. No one has an affinity for preaching particualry sermonic celebration then me! Well save maybe Rev. Dr. M.J. Simmons who is currently writting the much anticipated anthology on Black preaching. She is the quenn of Black preaching! With that being said I need to post a serious series of questions:
How can one know when there sermon was effective? I mean really ought we assess our sermonic success via congregational interaction? Is it likeley that people can even really concentrate and commit to memory our life shaping discourse while screaming back "Amen" and "Say it" to us while simultaneously tapping, slapping and touching their neighbor? Moreover, all of us I dare say it have at some point either played church, watched kids play church, or have playfully chit-chatted about church enough to know that we can all feign, fake or play shout. What's to say that congregants don't do the same? Perhaps many are just conditioned to respond to certain organ chords, certain tonal inflections, and perhaps much of the pandemonium praise we elicit through sermon is crowd influenced mob behavior? In short, I am asking my brothers and sisters for a viable means for assessing the sermonic task, by viable I mean a tangible observable means, while I do beleive after doing the deed it ought to "be well with one's soul" in this petition however, I am calling for more than that.
Speaking of celebration and it's effectiveness at eliciting emotive response from a congregation, I feel the need to pose this question: when is enough.....well enough? Do you beleive it is possible to over do it?
Is it a sermon if I do not go to Golgotha and close at the cross? What If I am preaching from the Hebrew Scriptures? Or preaching in the Advent season, must I always hasten to the cross? I admit, I love hearing the passion narrative and I am planning on having 1 Cor. 2:2 inked indeliably on my body, so no one is more cross crazy than yours truly, however, I feel the need to raise this relevant question, is a sermon salvific if it has no mention of the cross. Let me give a bit more insight as to why this issue is a concern for me. In Christ I beleive God reconciled the world to God's self. No doubt, however the atonemnet theory (Jesus' death for our sins) is but one of the many ways of talking about Jesus' redemptive tenure here on earth. Might we as preachers find other salvific means of expressing God's love for us by preaching the full gospel. By full gospel I mean the multitude of ways in which God saves us! I am not dismissing the cross, not even, but what I am doing is pushing for us as preachers to take God and God's gospel out of the box we've cognitively configured to put Him in. I am hoping that we can open our eyes, ears, minds and spirits to the Holy Spirit that He may direct us into a fuller understanding of the significance of Christ's life. I beleive that there is much salvation in the birth, life, death, and Ressurection of Jesus! I am disheartened that we often Jesus' significance to one defining moment in time.
Your comments, questions, considerations are wanted, welcomed, and warrented