FEEDBACK - RKF
Sermons on Matthew 17.1-9
1. Though I'm not a C&W fan, I feel my interest in narrative preaching as I've come to understand it from Eugene Lowry has influenced my preaching. I attribute this to the flow that it may have where an issue is raised, dealt with, given options for resolution, and then the gospel. I don't always follow this flow, but I've found that I at least try to come back around to the issue with some level of resolution.
2. As to the place in the liturgical calendar, how might this also flow as it relates to the epiphanic texts? How does this relate to the earlier part of the year?
3. The realization of a baby's life at baptism was a bit sentimentalized and, as JEA reminded us, this baby may also crash and burn. Though I hedged about my use of "birth" and not distinguishing "human" birth or otherwise, perhaps it could stand as just that knowing that God's wider realm of life is too a glimpse of God's glory. How could I have fleshed out the "signs of resurrection and hope" in more illustrations? Maybe the contrast of "happy" and "joy" could've played a role in this.
1. Your context informs your reading of this text. The way you wove this with the text and with the Lenten season was very well done. You showed us both the human and divine elements that appear in the text based on your context. I think you brought up some very key issues that churches need to at least talk about in a building project. It's a wake up call of sorts in that all we do in the church should be accountable as to why we do things like spend huge amounts of money on building projects. Finally, I like the use of mystery which resonates a great deal for me in the text. God's mystery often "interrupts our lives and you've given us some clues of how to deal with such experiences.
2. I wasn't sure about the three examples of christophany (Craddock) and how that relates to the overall flow. Was this to further explain christophanies in Matthew?
3. Not as a critique, but there were so many good provocative statements - all of which lent themselves to the sermon - I found myself using these statements as a springboard to further think about what these thoughts might mean. Good sermon!
1. Good pastoral prayer! It seems that this prayer had quite a bit of "preaching fodder" that could've been included into the sermon. I too - as a UM - think that theology matters! This text is full of theology and I would hope that it would encourage your people to think about it theologically.
2. Do your members know such words as "advocate" or at least their theological meaning? These kinds of words need a bit of unpacking.
3. I was left wanting more of your stories, your wit, and your way of spinning theology into everyday terms, like in your previous sermons. This is not to say that the others were superficial, but they did have a certain amount of depth yet articulated in a way that was easy to understand.
1. I think your caveat at the beginning was not really necessary because many of these dynamics you've mentioned - at the risk of historicizing the disciples - can be found in the disciples lives as well, and with us especially. I think you're describing other transfiguration possibilities for us - all of us. Your tie into Lent was right on target - that is the essence of the journey. It is something we must decide to do and "give up" in order for growth to take place. This "baring of your soul" can be effective, but not without risk as you mentioned in class.
2. Theological question: is it dangerous to identify with Jesus - we as ministers or any of us - and if so, why? This transfiguration is unique to Jesus, but are these experiences possible for us?
3. Related to the above question: I would say that the transfiguration is unique to the biblical texts, but I wonder if we too can indeed experience these kinds of moments in God's presence. I would say we can in our own contexts, unique to our life experiences.
1. Good use of the Greek word. I liked the way you played around with that word in all its implications for us. This puts the text in the perspective of resurrection themes that are coming later in Matthew. I didn't' pick up on the passive voice of "be raised."
2. Theological questions: You said it but it's not in your outline, but you said the tornado was not God, but nature. This is a theodicy issue that might illicit dialogue. Also, is death our final foe? If so, why? I understand the fear and terror associated with death, but is it really our final foe?
3. The flip side of "be raised" can lead to a passive role on our part, but you also deal with that by saying we also need to do our part. Some people, however, may take their passive role to heart and in the end do nothing.
1. I for one appreciate any story from Japan and it's a great story. I continue to appreciate how you bring your cultural contexts into your sermons. I know it has a different impact on your congregation, but for us in this class, it is always enlightening and informative. You have a wealth of resources from your culture and it's good you enter it into your sermons.
2. Exegetical question: Are you historicizing this story? If so, who is/are its central characters?
3. It wasn't clear to me -again, an exegetical question - where the forgiveness and judgment motifs were present this text. I can see how you got these themes indirectly from Moses and Elijah, but I'm not sure how they are a part of your hermeneutical bridge.