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boring people to death

“Boredom is a preview of death if not itself a form of death.” – Fred Craddock

A couple of times a year, I will go back and reread certain books on preaching.  Right now I’m working my way through Fred Craddock’s first book on preaching: “Overhearing the Gospel.”  It was originally delivered as part of the Lyman Beecher Lectures on Preaching at Yale University (1978).

One of the early points Craddock makes is about boredom — it’s not good.  He argues against those that think the only thing that matters is content.  As he would say, some are only concerned about the “what” and not the “how.”  In some opinions, to be concerned about the “how” is to reduce the sacredness of preaching.

Craddock would say, to ignore the “how” reduces the sacredness of the content … because people won’t hear it.  They’ll be asleep, fidgeting, passing notes, thinking about vacation.

“Be honest: have you ever quietly cheered when a child fell off a pew or a bird flew in a window or the lights went out or the organ wheezed or the sound system picked up police calls or a dog came down the aisle and curled up to sleep below the pulpit?” (p. 13)

If you have been given the privilege of preaching, you have also accepted the responsibility of not being boring.  Become a student of both the “what” and the “how.”

God (and your listeners) deserve no less.