30 April 2014

Reality: preaching outside the modern fantasy

Excellent article from Dr. Jeff Mirus, The Challenge of Preaching:

An excerpt:

We moderns are adept at concealing our own hopelessness even from ourselves, but this message can awaken us to our misery and give birth to love. Nonetheless, there is a danger. This encouragement can become empty if it goes too far without introducing its corresponding challenge. Preachers must not forget that we need to learn how to respond to Christ’s love. Preachers must identify and explain, in a very practical way, the false attachments and misconceptions which drag us down and hold us back. Here I beg preachers to avoid those alleged clarion calls from the pulpit which “challenge” the faithful to stand up for whatever moral value the whole world is accidentally already standing up for.

What is needed is a deliberate focus on the characteristic evils of our age, the evils that most people take for granted to be goods. This means, among other things, [1] that preachers must be willing and able to explain God’s plan for the body and for our sexuality, which He built into nature, in all its life-giving and love-engendering splendor, so that we can begin to understand what is wrong with pornography, solitary sex, sex outside of marriage, contraception, serial monogamy, and same-sex liaisons. It means preachers [2] must be willing and able to explain the sanctity of human life and our call to generosity and love. It means they must help us to recognize our own attachments to material things, the dangers of our high standard of living, and the many substitutions we make for God and His love. [3] And it means talking about real personal sin, not politics.

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