Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Intergenerational Sermons

A speaker I heard last evening, a representative of my denomination, seems to think sermons should be jettisoned in order to make worship more conducive to intergenerational experience. This was not an offhand comment, but is apparently a regular feature of this talk which he takes on the road. According to his reasoning, since the sermon is the element that children cannot endure and often becomes the reason for their dismissal, we should get rid of the sermon. No thought given to what might make the sermon more intergenerational. No thought given to what God might have at stake or be doing in the sermon. No thought given to what the Bible has to say about preaching. No reference that I can recall even to the presence of God in worship. While I am all for keeping children in worship and fostering intergenerational church, I find this attack on the sermon (which included a direct attack on the children's sermon), let us say, weighed and found wanting, to put it as mildly as possible.

Meanwhile, here are a couple of humble attempts at intergenerational sermons (both in the narrative mode) that, after being shopped to numerous publishers, were finally self-published, since envisioning an intergenerational audience fails every acquisitions editor's first test, which is that the author has clearly defined a very specific audience and written everything directly for that level of cognitive development and that particular context.


Also, here is a recently reprinted denominational publication from the late 19th c., which advocates for the children's sermon and includes sixteen such sermons from the period that should challenge any notion that we are able to clearly define or sector discrete levels of cognitive development. In short, just as adults can read, enjoy, and be formed by children's literature, these sermons too can be read with formational value by an intergenerational readership.


Monday, April 9, 2018

Farewell to FaceBook

Readers of this blog may wish to note that all related FB pages have been deleted in recent weeks, with my main personal FB page finally deactivated today.  

The Children's Sermon

This simple, classic treatment of The Children's Sermon, by the Rev. John C. Hill, was published in 1882 just before he and his wife left their parish in NY and embarked on a four-year missionary journey to Guatemala. Here it is, newly reissued with just the briefest explanation from the author and sixteen short, but substantial, sermons—substantial in that they actually "preach" in a way that children's sermons today frequently fail to do. This fresh reprint of a historical denominational publication comes with a short introduction for preachers from yours truly.