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A Good Mystery

Why faithful preaching requires an element of mystery.

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PreachingToday.com: Many cultural experts say postmodernists respond to preaching with an element of mystery. Several years ago, you wrote an article in Leadership Journal that supports this. What do you mean by mystery? And what don't you mean?

Richard Hansen: There is a lot of the landscape of human life that is simply beyond our understanding. Carl Sandburg says there is an eagle in me that wants to soar, and there's a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud. That's what our human condition is. Paul describes it pretty well in Romans 7. So what I mean by mystery is all those elements of human life and also Christian faith that don't fit together in neat ways. What I don't mean by mystery is just the absurd. Paradox has a certain sense of tension to it; even though it can't be rationally separated, much of the truth we have comes to us in that form. It comes to us in the form of two different truths that are held together in tension.

For example, God is three and yet one, the mystery ...

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