01 November 2007

Preach it, Postulant!

Can I get an Amen to The Postulant's post about the importance of preaching doctrine?


Derek the Ænglican said...


Ann said...

I'm sorry, I know this is a very late comment. But having finally gone back and read this in the original blog post:
"Preaching doctrine doesn't mean giving theological mini-lectures from the pulpit. It means finding ways to bring home to an attentive listener what the propers of the day are saying about God and our relationship to God. It means taking a few minutes to peel back the layers of confusion and unclarity and inattention that obstruct our view of the great teachings of our faith. It means abandoning the safety of platitudes and grappling with doctrines that will bite back if they're not treated properly."

I'm sorry, but preaching doctrine is very much different than preaching about humankind's relationship to God. Preaching doctrine means preaching what some white men decided a while ago would be the 'acceptable teaching' on any particular topic -- which may or may not have to actually do with the relationship between humans and the Living God. I might slip in a sentence or two, or even a whole paragraph of doctrine into a sermon, but I wouldn't inflict more than that on the hungry hearts that actually show up to listen to me.

Scott said...

Thanks for your comment, Ann. I guess I think of doctrine as a shared understanding of God by the Christian community, and catholic doctrine necessarily hears from many people, places, experiences, and times in that community. I know doctrine is often thought of as something static and imposed, and it's certainly used that way. But my wish is that more often we'd hear what that understanding is, whether it's incorporating a brief explanation from our BCP (which, with the Bible, is where the formal doctrine of the Episcopal Church is, in my opinion) or teaching a bit about the liturgical actions we're in the midst of in church. It does happen...I'm not saying this is something not done...but why is it so rare and refreshing when a preacher relates what's in our BCP, for example, to our relationship to God? I think we're making similar points, actually, maybe from different angles. What I'm not advocating is communal recitation of the articles of religion (although occasionally this might work with the Outline of the Faith). It's connecting the readily accessible texts of our faith to our lives, relationships to each other and God, to those who have gone before, and to what we're doing in liturgy.