Craft of Preaching

Columnist

Field notes from preachers you trust -- Nathan Aaseng, Patricia Tull and others.

Preaching about Sin and Forgiveness

Two brief stories illustrate the difficulty of preaching about sin and forgiveness these days:

First, I had the honor of bringing communion to a wonderful,

Returning Gifts

This month, I invite you to explore with me a time-honored, traditional stewardship approach that has made me increasingly uncomfortable. My problem is

Cue the Music

When I was a young boy, I accidentally memorized the books of the New Testament. I say “accidentally” because I had not intended to, and I did

Preaching Immanuel among Cynics

I recently came across a survey asking respondents’ attitudes toward Christmas. The vast majority of those surveyed disagreed with the sentiment that

A Sincere Gesture

I recall many years ago a national politician who was known for his awkward and contrived way of relating to audiences. A comedian spoofed this politician

Spiritual but not Religious

I heard those words again last week: “We’re spiritual but not religious.” I hear them often, and I’m sure you have, too. This has

Delivered with Love, From Me to You

On Confirmation Sunday, I was reminded once again of an important truth about preaching. Preaching is most effective when we direct our words not to people

Weightier Matters: Faith, Justice, and Mercy

As I prepare this month’s column, the scripture that refuses to let me rest is:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe

Preaching in an Exilic Age

I am trying to discern whether we have entered an era of Christian exile in America. It certainly feels like it, and not for the reasons that are usually

Defending What We Love

Last week at the public library in Evansville, Indiana, more than 125 people gathered for a program about building backyard bird habitats, complete with

Preaching in Interesting Times

There is supposedly an old Chinese curse that goes: “May you live in interesting times.”

We certainly live in interesting times, and it often

Identity Crisis

One of the lessons we have learned from recent politics is the power of group identity. To the astonishment of political pundits, it appears that once people

Love Them

When it comes to the pulpit, I am generally not a “rules” person.

After all, “rules” are generally not meant to be flexible and

Designing the Mystery

This is the first installment in a series on worship and preaching. To tell you the truth, I’m not interested in giving preaching help for seasonal

Same Old Jesus

We often give Jesus’ disciples grief for being clueless sidekicks who never seem to get what Jesus is saying. But there was one instance in which