Feedback on Sermon on 1 Cor. 1:10-18
I noted from each of your sermons the importance of names in your culture. Your experience with the naming of your son was insightful. This is an excellent treatment of the text, which places so much emphasis on the name of Jesus. I really like this sermon and would be interested in how your congregation will hear this sermon with the emphasis your culture places on names.
The question of identity in this sermon in relation to the text is effective. It was meaningful for me when you related the text to our identity in Baptism. What you do here is demonstrate the foundation for Christian Unity. Could talk some about the destructive results that occur when we let our culture our identity us and name us. Could also demonstrate how maintaining our individual identity can bring division in the church.
I think we should all elect LRG to write our pastoral prayers for the seminar. LRG has a real gift for bringing the key elements to bear in the pastoral prayer. They are very sensitive and comforting. LRG says that the illustration at the beginning does not work because it is an inanimate object. But I disagree because I do think it works. Also I think this opening illustration could be used for the sermon on the transfiguration. To talk about how Christ is shrouded in mystery but for a brief moment the clouds clear and we get a glimpse of the glory of God and the divinity of Jesus. You were to hard on yourself about this sermon. I think it is effective and it works. It is helpful that you have focused on the image of the cross in the text.
What a great time to preach this text when three children will be baptized. I very much appreciate the fact you had the mother of the children who does not attend worship in mind when you wrote the sermon. What is the goodness of the Church? What is the brokenness of the church? Some images here would be helpful. How does baptism remind us of our need to remain united as a church? You do explain this later in the sermon. Perhaps another sentence of instruction at the beginning of the sermon would be helpful. A thought about the woman you have as your focus: Maybe a different focus would be helpful. She probably will not resonate with the discussion of the brokenness of the church. You might talk about the general need that people have to belong and the idea that our baptism and the cross of Jesus Christ make a new community possible.
The opening illustration is humorous but painful. I'm glad I escaped such a support group when I began my ministry. Otherwise, I might have headed to law school. But I think the story illustrates the pain we feel when our ministry becomes nothing more than just putting out fires. I've appreciated RFK writing many of his sermons for the benefit of our class - our context as pastors. I'm indebted in my sermon on RFK's explanation that the word division is better described as ripping the church into pieces. This demonstrates much more effectively the violence that bickering brings onto the body of Christ. The image of ripping and weaving the church back together into a tapestry is very powerful.
Preaching from epistles is easier for me than preaching from the Gospels. It is much harder for me to move from a story to a sermon than from instruction given to a specific community in a letter. The structure and issues in the epistles are easier to discern and more easily structured into a sermon. The problem is though the sermon can easily slide into more of a teaching exercise than an exercise in preaching. This sermon was came more easily than the others. Although I think I've prepared more of a paper than a sermon. Yet, I thought it was important to prepare a manuscript to organize my thoughts. However, I will probably leave the manuscript in my office when I preach.
Thank you for providing very meaningful learning experience for us. These past two weeks have been engaging and renewing in my practice of preaching. I don't think there is anything about the class that I would change. This is the first time in 16 years I've had the opportunity to examine my sermon preparation with a class of my peers. For the first two days I resisted the discipline of the homiletical method. However, after I began to get into a rhythm with the steps it became easier. What I've discovered is that by the time you've finished the six steps you've written your sermon. I hope that I'll continue the discipline after the requirements for our course is completed. I look forward to the conversations that will take place over texts these next 9 weeks.