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Spent part of this morning in a group discussion on preaching conducted by The Very Rev. Ansley Tucker, newly appointed Rector of Christ Church Cathedral Victoria and Dean of Columbia.

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So, does the reality that God’s truth speaks authentically in the heart of every person mean we should get rid of all spiritual teachers? Should I resign? Is it time to hang up my preaching robes and head for the golf course?

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Words stand between silence and silence: between the silence of things and the silence of our own being. Between the silence of the world and the silence of God.

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The Archbishop of Canterbury in a homily on Friday 23 January 2015 at Trinity Walls Street in New York City has attacked a preaching demon he identifies as “moral claptrap.”

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David Murrow at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/afewgrownmen/2013/04/are-sermons-becoming-obsolete/raises an interesting question about the practice of preaching in public worship.

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Here is a refreshing vision of preaching that we clergy might do well to heed.

http://www.luthersem.edu/Controls/video_share.aspx?vp=http%3A%2F%2Fdownload.luthersem.edu%2Fmedia%2Fworking_preacher%2FBBTaylor1.mp4&vs=http%3A//www.workingpreacher.org/preachingmoments.aspx%3Fvideo_id%3D303&vi=/assets/jwplayer/workingpreacher/poster.jpg&vd=workingpreacher

Every once in a while as a preacher, I receive a response to my sermon that stands out as particularly gratifying.

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I was reminded by a sermon I read recently that Guilt, Manipulation and Shame (GMS) remain popular weapons in some preachers’ Sunday morning arsenals.

It is easy to understand why GMS is such a seductive device for the person in the pulpit. Many preachers’ view their job as either getting more people to attend church or getting those who do attend to live more “moral” lives. Neither is an easy task. Success in getting more people into church depends in part upon the availability of a willing volunteer workforce. So using GMS to badger people to get busy in church is an appealing option for many preachers. At the same time, the social pressures against conventional narrowly defined morality are enormous. GMS represents a desperation measure to stem the tide of “immorality.” In an attempt to achieve success at both church and “morality” building GMS is a powerful temptation for the preacher.

It is less easy to understand why so many people in the pew are willing to sit passively while preachers hurl GMS at them from the pulpit. What could possible cause an intelligent, thoughtful individual to spend Sunday mornings being pummeled from the pulpit with a perpetual dose of GMS?
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I haven’t seen the movie but have read a review of “Crazy Heart” by Stephanie Zacharek at: http://www.salon.com/entertainment/movies/review/2009/12/15/crazy_heart/index.html

“Crazy Heart” tells the story of Bad Blake, a hard-drinking country and western singer, played by Jeff Bridges and his relationship with Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal). My interest in the movie has nothing to do with the movie. It is the review that caught my attention, particularly the last two paragraphs in which Zacharek says something tremendously important about the creative process, and particularly about the creative process for preachers.
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