Preachers are like comedians. They are always looking for new material. If the recent spate of articles on preachers plagiarizing in their sermons is any indication, the production of the weekly sermon in the face of limited time and a challenged imagination has become the overriding issue for busy ministers.
Many preachers feel overmatched not by the competing messages around them but by the sensorium itself, the technological and economic atmosphere in which all messages are communicated. With its worship of electronic images, no culture has proved less hospitable to the spoken word than our own. Our predecessors faced their distinctive challenges, to be sure, but at least Augustine, Chrysostom, Luther and Spurgeon did not have to justify the effectiveness of public speech or, worse, deal with its obsolescence.