Mark Oppenheimer of The New York Times writes about last month’s Festival of Homiletics, where some of the most-respected preachers from the mainline churches gather to discuss and demonstrate their art and craft.
One hot topic was making preaching “more democratic.”
“You have seen this metaphor for 20 years, in homiletics, that the sermon is a ‘conversation,’ not just a clergy monologue,” Dr. [Lauren] Winner [an Episcopal priest and professor at Duke Divinity School] said. “But what does this mean? Does it mean have a Wednesday afternoon Bible study, so that your Sunday sermon can engage the congregation’s concerns about the passage? Or it might mean emailing out a passage beforehand, and saying, ‘What do you want to know about it?’ ”
Some preachers — though not her, Dr. Winner made clear — take interactivity further.
“There are preachers who stand there with their iPhone on the pulpit, and their audience texts and tweets questions and comments, and they riff on them,” Dr. Winner said.
What would it mean to make preaching “more democratic.” How would that be done? Is it a good idea?