In Uncategorized on July 1, 2010 at 2:18 am

contextualization and catastrophic response

you wouldn’t know it – since i have a lamentable tendency to bullshit instead of talking about what matters – but i think about preaching a lot.

since i studied at an evangelical bible college and seminary, i was taught to “let the text win,” boil down each each text to a “big idea” and refuse to let ambiguity blight the life application of the passage at hand. at its heart, this approach views preaching as a means of recontextualizing the scriptures within the life of the contemporary church.

i don’t have any interest in disparaging the preaching as contextualization approach, since it treats the parables, proverbs and poetry of scripture with utmost respect and often helps the church maintain its connection with the saints of old.

however, interacting with transformational preachers like craddock, lowry, buechner and brueggemann, i have started to view the scriptures as a narrative account of both the catastrophes that have confronted the people of God and the creative ways that broken but mending humanity and the often merciful divinity have made to these catastrophes. over the last couple of days i’ve realized once again that the scriptures are not a compendium of culturally distant morality plays that demand contextualization for the contemporary audience. rather, the scriptures are treasured accounts of people who struggled, failed and in one glorious account succeeded, to live in light of the coming Kingdom instead of the hell that constantly threatens to circumscribe.

of course, catastropic response doesn’t mitigate the need for contextualization. but the former is a new lens on scripture that i desperately need right now.


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