Chapter 6

From Location to Inspiration

The role of historical and literary context in preaching.

Growing up on the south side of Chicago, I learned the important lesson of context in a life changing way. During the summer of my sixteenth birthday I begin working for the Chicago Park District. This journey lead me to active duty at the pool in Sherman Park. This beautiful park is an entire square mile of space in the midst of the poverty ridden, inner city area. The park was and is occupied and controlled by one of Chicago's most notorious street gangs. As an outsider to this community and its gang culture, I was at a clear disadvantage while trying to fulfill my duties to serve and protect the patrons of the swimming pool. The tenured employees had to give me a detailed account of the gang's beliefs, rivals, structure, and sayings. All of this information was critical for me to interpret the various situations I would be faced with in this violent and aggressive context. Here I learned that context controls content.

The whole truth

In order to be accurate in our preaching, each ...

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