Confessions of a Manuscript Preacher
I preach better when I semi-read a sermon.
posted 04/09/12See theme
I have a recurring nightmare. Having grown up in the Roman Catholic tradition, I'm kneeling in the dim light of the confessional booth. "Forgive me, father, for I have sinned."
The deep voice on the other side of the thin wall responds, "What sins do you wish to confess, my child?"
I'm startled. I know that voice. It's not the voice of my priest, but the daunting voice of my homiletics professor! I think to myself, I wonder if he knows. Feeling exposed, I go on and confess my sin: "Doctor, please forgive me. It's true. I do it. I do it every Sunday. I … I … I … preach from a manuscript!"
Okay, that's farfetched, but you get the point. Manuscript preaching isn't just marginalized, it's ridiculed. In most homiletics courses, preaching from a manuscript is considered a historic relic that's as useful today as an 8-track tape. If it's talked about at all, it's mentioned on a list of things never to do.
Experts give various reasons for dismissing the use of a manuscript. Most ...