Pop goes the sermon

Michael Paulson in The Boston Globe:

The first sign that this is not an ordinary worship service is the pair of toasters on the chancel of the oak-paneled chapel.

Teenagers are seated in pews, eating bowls of corn flakes and raisin bran.

And, at the base of the pulpit, there is a small black iPod - not a choir member or a hymnal in sight.

It's iSermon Sunday at Cochran Chapel, and the Rev. Anne E. Gardner, the new director of spiritual and religious life here at Phillips Academy, is fiddling with her laptop.

In one example of how clergy are attempting to use technology and popular culture to reach out to the young, Gardner is constructing a monthly sermon using songs from the iPods of her students, rather than biblical excerpts from a lectionary, as her texts. In her first three efforts, she has attempted to extract moral lessons from the lyrics of Kanye West, Nickelback, and India.Arie - three artists she had never heard of until her students brought them to her attention.

Comments (4)

In her first three efforts, she has attempted to extract moral lessons from the lyrics of Kanye West, Nickelback, and India.Arie - three artists she had never heard of until her students brought them to her attention.

OK, I'm 47, and the least hip person on the planet . . . but I'm familiar w/ all 3 of these artists.

If you're not, oughtn't you stick w/ what you ARE familiar with---or ought to be!---namely, that leather-bound artifact known as "The Bible"?

JC Fisher {sharing a vicarious *CRINGE*, on behalf of Rev. Gardner's students}

Thanks for posting this. The key for this kind of work to work is not that different than ordinary, traditional preaching. And those keys are content, comfort and presentation.

The content must not just be gimmicky or, as one student said, cheesy. It must have substance as well as appeal to the idioms familiar to the audience.

The presenter must be comfortable with the technology and comfortable with the kind of content that may present/reinforce material that may seem out of the ordinary for a church.

And the presentation must be competent, with good production value and no distractions of "trying to get it right."

This kind of thing cannot be seen as a gimmick, attempt to simply look "cool" to young people.

The preacher must take the hearers seriously enough to listen to them so that they can be effectively spoken to, whatever the medium.

Andrew Gerns
Sharethebread.blogspot.com

I hope it was better than as reported - sharing "cringe" with JCF --

I think this approach suggests an inadequate grasp of the doctrine of the Word of God. A preached sermon is always on the basis of the Scriptures. Song lyrics could be used to illustrate a point, but the Scripture lessons never are a mere illustration. They are the Word of God breaking out in the liturgical assembly. And in the Holy Spirit they, along with the words of the preacher, become the true Word of God.

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