Hard words

One reason I teach undergraduate religion instead of preaching is that I am not sure preaching can be taught. During the spring semester I tested this premise by offering an elective at McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta, titled “Preaching Difficult Texts.” The students and I spent the first day deciding what kinds of texts those were.

At the top of the list were miracle stories. We were not as bothered by Moses’ parting of the Red Sea or Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000 as we were by the simplest healing miracles. One woman who had served as chaplain in a children’s hospital remembered when the raising of Jairus’s daughter showed up on the lectionary for her assigned Sunday in chapel. She preached on the psalm instead.


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