Sunday, July 15, 2007

E.P.I.C. Preaching

Read an interesting sermon by Leonard Sweet on wikiletics on E.P.I.C. Preaching.


The word "epic" carries a double meaning of both timeless and timely. The gospel is both. But even more, EPIC is my acronym for preaching that sounds the death-knell for pulpitcentric Christianity and rings the doorbell for preaching that is:



image-rich, and


In the once-dominant culture of the printing press, preaching was uniformly accepted as pulpit presentations that were rational, representative, word-based, and individualistic. However, that pulp-and-ink approach is rapidly losing whatever effectiveness it had. For postmodern culture, EPIC preaching leaves the pulpit behind while taking with it the contributions of modernity to the preaching enterprise. EPIC preaching is less a repudiation than an expansion of modernity: rationality expanded to embrace experience, performance expanded to embrace participation, exegesis of the Word expanded to embrace exegesis of the image, and the joining of the "me" and the "we" that's the essence of connectivity. EPIC preaching is a communal experience of the Word created by participation in an image-rich narrative or sequence of stories...

My favorite way of EPIC preaching? I don't always get to do it (and don't make an issue if I can't), but when I'm invited to preach somewhere one of my first questions is: "Do you have a live Web-feed?" If the answer is "yes," I then ask the second question: "Can you find me a dancing partner?"

In this type of EPICtivity, I stand in the middle of the congregation, with my Bible open to a text that is also featured on one of the two screens up front. Together the congregation and I exegete the leading image(s) of the text. The second screen, however, is totally under the creative promptings of my dancing partner. Preferably, this is a person who's grown up on Google, and not the word search function. While the people and I are more and more immersing ourselves in the Word, my dancing partner is Googling the Web for images that are tossed up by our interactions. And these images are flashed up on that second screen as contributions to and animations of our conversation. The energy that flows from these multilayered connections can only be described as "divine."

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