Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Crowd-Sourced Exegesis: Why do this?

I have long said that if there is a specificity to my calling, I believe it is preaching. In my preaching class at Columbia Theological Seminary, the professors encouraged us to get input on our sermons from as many different sources as possible. This practice serves a two-fold purpose, it guards against our own biases and potential cultural insensitivity, and it gives us new perspectives on the text which makes for better preaching.

 So last April, I was preaching on a text that had me stumped. So I decided, as I often do, to ask the internet.

 Crowd-Sourcing has been shown time and again to come up with better solutions to almost any problem placed before it. And yet the image people have of sermon writing is that a preacher locks herself in her study for six hours and comes out with a brilliant (or not) sermon ready for Sunday morning. The problem with this model is that only the preacher gets to have that relationship with the text.

I'm not satisfied with that.

I think the body of Christ should all be intimately involved with the scripture that we have held up as a unique and authoritative witness. I want to train people to think about scripture and to relate it to their own lives.

While it is certainly important for me, as a preacher, to maintain that relationship as well and to model that for congregants, the best way to teach this kind of skill is to ask people to do it.

Also, it makes for a better sermon. Because the sermon is not about me. It's about God. And the Holy Spirit, ideally, is moving through me in the preaching moment, and in the sermon writing. But I firmly believe that the Holy Spirit speaks through those around us, so this crowd-sourced exegesis asks for exactly that.

So help my write my sermons. Not because I am out of ideas, but because I firmly believe that you have something to say. Here's a place to say it.

1 comment:

  1. I would love to help you...I love the way you are opening up the conversation. I think when you post topics or text or video to make the ask around it will increase your response. Keep up the good work.