Monday, June 14, 2010
Monday morning preacher: plain speak
One of the things I loved about the sermon I heard yesterday was that the preacher used straightforward language to talk even about the most profound things. I mean that she used words that you use every day: ask, welcome, dinner, question. There were even some tasty unexpected words in there ("scoff" leaps to mind, but I'm not even sure that was it), but even the less common words were still commonly held.
I love it when preachers sound like people and not like...preachers. Too often I wonder who the preacher is trying to impress. Actually, I suspect I know who the preacher is trying to impress. (Oh, all right, Ms. Beezle-Bubb, whom the preacher is trying to impress.) And many a listener, I suspect, comes out of those sermons thinking, "Wow! That was so profound I didn't understand it!" or (more likely), "Wow! I didn't understand that so it must be profound!"
But profound isn't in the length of the words but the depth of the thoughts. Preaching is a way of communicating something important. If listeners don't understand it, then our work as preachers has failed, no matter how erudite we sound.
Clarity is not dumbing down. Short, clear words are beautiful.