Preaching on a Bell Curve

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by swaimj, Nov 30, 2001.

  1. swaimj

    swaimj
    Expand Collapse
    <img src=/swaimj.gif>

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2000
    Messages:
    3,426
    Likes Received:
    0
    I took a course in seminary a while back on narrative preaching. Recently I have joined a small Baptist church and have the opportunity to preach on Sun PM once a month. I plan to preach Sun PM on John 2, where Jesus turns the water into wine. I want to put some of the preaching "strategies" from narrative preaching into practice.

    If you're familiar with the bell curve, or the "fishhook" as it applies to narratives, see if you think I am on the right track with my structure. I see the protagonist in the story as Jesus, and the antagonist (though this applies only loosely in this instance) as the disciples. The action of the story rises to a climax when the master of ceremonies tastes the wine and proclaims "you have saved the best for last." The resolution has the disciples "beleiving in Jesus." Any thoughts on this structure?
     
  2. swaimj

    swaimj
    Expand Collapse
    <img src=/swaimj.gif>

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2000
    Messages:
    3,426
    Likes Received:
    0
    Aw Shucks! I ask a question about narrative preaching every so often on the BB, but apparently IFBs aren't into this. I'll keep trying though. [​IMG]
     
  3. swaimj

    swaimj
    Expand Collapse
    <img src=/swaimj.gif>

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2000
    Messages:
    3,426
    Likes Received:
    0
    BTW, here is a recent quote from Haddon Robinson which shows the value of preaching narrative sermons. This appeared in Preaching Magazine and can be found on their website at www.preaching.com

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> I think form is important. The question is: where does it come from? One answer is that the form of the sermon, it seems to me, needs to reflect the form of text. By that I mean if I am working with a parable of Jesus, it is not the form of the parable to say, "There are three lessons about God's mercy that we learn from this story." If God had wanted to give us three lessons, He was perfectly capable, and the biblical writer was perfectly capable of saying there are three lessons. So I had to say to myself: Why, when God wanted to tell me about the seeking love of God -- say in Luke 15, the prodigal son -- why in the world did He use this story? When the religious scholar says to Jesus, "Who is my neighbor?" in Luke 10, Jesus tells them a story.

    It seems to me that if you and I were talking, and you said to me, "Who is your neighbor?" And I said, "Well, once upon a time there was a guy going from Boston down to Providence and he got into a wreck on the highway." You'd say to me, "Wait a minute, what is this telling me a story? I asked you a straight question, 'Who is my neighbor?' I wanted a definition." But Jesus doesn't do that. So if in my sermon I suddenly come up with a didactic definition, then the form of the sermon is not the form of the passage.

    I think that you could make a good argument that not only should the sermon reflect the idea of a biblical text but it should be influenced by the form.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
     
  4. TomVols

    TomVols
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2000
    Messages:
    11,170
    Likes Received:
    0
    Truthfully, I wouldn't get terribly caught up in labeling parts or people using human created literary devices. When you approach a narrative, let the narrative dictate the form of the sermon as Robinson and others assert. Preach the story and apply the story. Eugene Lowry revolutionized the approach to narratives, but I think we can go too far in trying to fit narratives into our "Hollywood" ideas of story rather than simply letting "texts do the talking" as J.I. Packer likes to say. So I think you're heading on the right track. Just don't force fit the Biblical narrative into a Hollywood storyline (Not that you would do that).
     
  5. TomVols

    TomVols
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2000
    Messages:
    11,170
    Likes Received:
    0
  6. swaimj

    swaimj
    Expand Collapse
    <img src=/swaimj.gif>

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2000
    Messages:
    3,426
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, some get very fanciful with narratives, but if the intent is to accurately reflect the text and communicate it consistently with the form, it is very helpful. Or, I have found it to be.
     

Share This Page

Loading...