24 August 2012

Advice to preachers & their people

These are a few notes I jotted down for a radio interview this morning. . .

Some advice/notes for the preacher:

The preacher preaches to himself first. Preach “we” and “us” not “you people.” You struggle, fail, succeed, fall, get up, soar, wallow, succeed again. Use your struggles/successes.

Preach the gospel in front of you. What's the Good News in these readings? And what does it mean for us right now in these circumstances?

Avoid the temptation to scratch itchy ears. Preaching what you think we want to hear can be safe, popular, and ultimately damning. 

Challenge, provoke, encourage by preaching the truth. We are stronger than you think. We are also confused, worried, and tempted to despair.  Hold up the ideal.

Point out and celebrate in unambiguous terms our relationship with God. In every homily, tell us how being in love with God changes us. How failing to love hurts us.

Preach struggle and victory. Note the details of struggling to follow Christ but keep our eyes focused on Christ's victory (and ours in him).

Preach with passion. Let us know that you believe what you're preaching.

Stay fresh. Read good novels, good homilies; keep up with pop culture and the Church Fathers.

Feedback to your pastor:

You don't have to Occupy the Pulpit to get good preaching!

Silence = Approval. If no one speaks up, then Father will think all is well.

Encourage your pastor by pointing out what you found helpful/useful in his homily. Let him know that you were listening. Send him a note.

Encourage him to publish his homilies in the bulletin.

Tell him what sorts of things you need to hear. Can you address personal prayer and how to do it better? How do I love more and better? I'm confused about this teaching, can you explain it?

If his homilies seem ill-prepared, challenge him—charitably—to be better prepared.

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  1. "If his homilies seem ill-prepared, challenge him—charitably—to be better prepared."

    So I'm guessing going up to him after Mass and saying: "Dude, that totally sucked! Did you even read the Gospel?!?" might not be the best approach. Hmmm...charity's not always my strong suit ;-)!

    How did the radio interview go?

    1. Generally, I think that would be a bad idea. You could say that to me. . .probably. And I know quite a few folks who could get away with saying that to me. But I have a sense of humor, so. . .

      Remember: truth in charity. I'm better at the truth part too.

    2. I would only "think" that comment really loud - doubt it would actually escape my lips. Though the last time I spoke with our Pastor I tried very hard to speak charitably and non-confrontationally - he actually told me to stop thinking so much and just tell him how I felt :-). I don't think he understood the full ramifications of that statement!

    3. Geez, woman. . .what more encouragement do you need??? Tell him! :-)

    4. Ha! :-) He's been gone three weeks and won't be back until next Sunday - If I'm not in Seattle next weekend hangin' with the OPs, then he and I are scheduled for another meeting.