In a recent essay, Marilynne Robinson attributes the struggles of mainline Protestantism to preaching. She claims that the sermon, as the center of worship in the contemporary mainline church, is “pretty nearly defunct.” Is that true, and if so, why? John Ames, a pastor and the central character in Robinson’s novel Gilead, offers one answer. “When you do this sort of work, it seems to be Sunday all the time, or Saturday night. You just finish preparing for one week and it’s already the next week.” Most preachers will respond to this observation with a nod. Is the pressure to prepare weekly sermons the reason for a lack of good preaching?