A little further on preaching ... I appreciated that website offered by Sean (on the "Windy Place" posting) and those comments by Kim Fabricius. In it he returns to what I find to be the most 'frequently asked question' I hear on the subject of preaching: 'what about powerpoint?'
Fabricius writes the following:
"Technically, Richard Lischer oberves that 'when the brain is asked to multi-task by listening and watching at the same time, it always quits listening.' Substantively, if the medium is the message, how can the medium of IT - icon of postmodern power - square with the word of the cross? Lischer provides a thought-experiment: "What would Martin Luther King's 'I have a dream' speech look like in powerpoint?'
What do you think? I think he asks a valid question. While powerpoint clearly has a place, its place is easily over-valued. Here are my cautions:
(a) I fear that the powerpoint imaging/support of the sermon too often receives more effort than the basic crafting of the sermon itself.
(b) I fear that the stuff on the screen too often becomes a crutch that is needed in order to give the sermon clarity and momentum. I would argue that if this is the case then the preparation of the sermon is incomplete - and this needs to be completed first.
(c) I fear that this growing confidence in 'image' is associated with a diminishing confidence in 'word', or even Word. This would be a serious error for preachers to make - and is adrift from biblical spirituality which, at its essence, is about a God who speaks and a people who listen and then obey. If people find it heard to listen, maybe they need to be taught to listen - because listening is just so important.
(d) While there is overlap between teaching and preaching, I fear that powerpoint drifts things across to the teaching side as the all-important persuasive element in preaching can go missing.
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