Skip to main content

doctor of blues

a year ago, i began my doctor of ministry (d. min., not ph. d.) studies at wesley seminary in washington, d.c. the three year course is called "preaching in the 21st century." i really felt God calling me to the program, and i was thrilled at the prospect of learning more about preaching. the first semester was great-- good, challenging classes, exciting new friendships. the last semester was poor academically, but excellent in terms of fellowship. now i am preparing for the third semester, which will take place in kansas city in june.

coming off my last semester's experiences, it has been hard to get geared up for the next session. the first week we will discuss our thoughts on our final projects, a sort of dissertation. the second week we'll discuss preaching in series, which i talked about in my last blog entry. my plan all along was to focus my final project on preaching in the african-american tradition. through my work on the north texas conference anti-racism team, i have come to appreciate the power of the prophetic voice in preaching, leading others to change. the themes of liberation and celebration typically heard in african-american preaching strongly appeal to me.

a year later, i have no idea what to do. for whatever reason, that topic seems less interesting to me. i just can't formulate the right questions to center around an 80-page project. so i am facing the real possibility of showing up in k.c. a completely blank slate. i suppose that's ok, certainly better than showing up in february '09 with a blank slate. and who knows, between now and then (including the eight hour car trip) maybe God will plant a seed or two.

maybe the answer lies in the discipline of preaching itself. the best preachers seek God's will in their lives, listening to the movement of the Holy Spirit as they discern the scriptures. they also discern what is happening in their congregation's life, as well as their own life. add God's power to the mix and you have a recipe for something meaningful. zan holmes, perhaps the nation's best preacher, sums it up best in his prayer before preaching: "save me from me, hide me behind the cross, so that what is seen and heard is you, not me."


Anonymous said…
I am sure that God will fill your mind with focus just as God has filled your heart with a passion for preaching. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Popular posts from this blog

The Famous Black Cat Band

This week my former high school band director, Mr Reinke, died. Mr Reinke is a legend in my hometown of Bay City. He was the leader of our Black Cat Band for many years. He was a fiery man, a perfectionist with extremely high standards. He was a gifted musician. He and I both played the trombone; one of us sounded like a goose being strangled. The other sounded like... well I can't think of a metaphor to properly describe Mr Reinke's horn. It was amazing. He would pull that thing out occasionally to show us how to properly play a part of a song and the sound was spellbinding. 
Mr Reinke was very innovative in his music selections. He had us playing the most random music, from popular stuff of the day by Michael Jackson to Also Sprach Zarathustra (popularly known as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey) to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. This song in particular was a great choice-- it's amazing, complicated; however, this was the late 1980s. The song was originally released…

Grief Is a Powerful Thing

"So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the Gospel of God but also our own selves." 1 Thessalonians 2:8
My first couple of Sundays at Grace, early in July, a couple of different people asked me this question immediately before worship: "How are you feeling?" My response: "Terrified." This was met with sort of shocked looks, then afterward the same person would say something like, "See that was ok." I've always been nervous before preaching-- the ramped up nerves help me to focus on my task and give me energy. But this seemed stronger. On Saturday nights my first couple of months at Grace I would hear an inner critic saying, "You're not prepared." "You're going to bomb today." Most Sundays he was wrong. A couple of sermons did bomb, but that happens. I decided to seek out a spiritual director to help me discern what was going on with me. I knew it was internal, but couldn…

a response to gideons international

last sunday prosper united methodist church welcomed representatives of the gideons to share about their ministry. how many times have you stayed in a hotel or visited someone in the hospital and found a gideons Bible there? and while no one can argue that reading the Bible is a bad thing, or that distributing Bibles to others in native languages is inherently harmful, i would like to offer some thoughts on the practices of the gideons, as they were described at church.

1. bravo to the gideons for distributing 73 million Bibles last year. however, most of the Bibles they sent were tiny new testaments with psalms. i am a Christian, and i love the words of the new testament. but those words have their foundation in the old testament, and to remove thousands of years of traditions and stories of God's powerful love and acts of salvation diminishes the power of the whole Bible. we must never forget that the old testament (or "first" testament or "hebrew Bible"…