Preaching as the Proclaimed Word–Day 3

Today in the morning we talked about MLK Jr. and the famous speech, “I Have a Dream.” We prepared for this discussion by reading Richard Lischer’s outstanding book, The Preacher King.

The use of set pieces that are repeated by the preacher is present in the African-American preaching context and I think it could be effective in my own situation. King would develop a piece of a sermon, an illustration, a movement, or a play of words and insert those set pieces in his preaching throughout his ministry. The people listening to him preach would hear the beginning of one of those pieces and they would know how it would finish. There was a shared community built by knowing the story together. Because he was a great orator these pieces did not become stale.

My PhotoWe also watched an outstanding video presentation by Todd Farley on movement by the preacher. He is a trained mime and is also a pastor. His use of space is purposeful and encourages the preacher to make every motion have a meaning that aids the listener. The video was from a DVD that is included with the book Performance in Preaching.

In the afternoon we had opportunity to share our recitations of either the Gettysburg Address or a piece of Scripture of equal length. I chose the Gettysburg Address and found it difficult to synchronize both the memorization of the passage and the stage blocking. I needed prompting on one line and I found that my hands expressed my nervousness and my gaze revealed that I wanted to look anywhere but at the people in front of me. Clay Schmit suggested that if I don’t want to look at the people in front of me I should make my gaze appear purposeful, as if I meant to look to the battlefield.

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