A good question can stimulate the brain to put together things that one had not previously connected. Stuart Harrell asked my a question about what a course on emergent “preaching” would look like. Here are some of my thought – I would love to hear yours.


My cleaned up tweets are posted as bullet-points with a clarifying thought following. 

  • You would want to immediately address message and medium. It’s not just a repacking of the same old material.

What we are experiencing in a genuinely different expression of the good news. I watch lots of video clips of hip – fashionable – edgy young preachers who are still on an elevated stage using the exact same forms as the past 100 years … only they have added video clips and hair gel.

That is not what we are talking about. That is just lipstick on pig ūüôā ¬†not that I really believe that old-school preaching is a pig, I just love that phrase.

  • ¬†#EmergentPreaching¬†would involve scripture, culture, media, dialogue, experience & impartation to start.

The ‘problem’ with emergent thought is that it is neither reductive nor is it reproducible. It is environment specific (contextual) and organic. It interacts with its surroundings and emerges from its participants. It is a different animal from day 1.

  • I have given a LOT of thought to¬†Emergent Preaching¬†since my dad is a homiletics¬†Prof. & I helped start The Loft LA¬†recently.

One of our biggest glitches is that our ‘gatherings’ don’t translate to podcasts or video very well. We planned on being media savvy but the ‘sermon’ is broken up into conversation starters, dialogue, small groups, feedback and presentation. It’s kind of messy and we are still trying to figure out how to ‘capture’ it authentically. I think that we are going to start just throwing it out there unedited for members who missed that week in case they want to catch up.

  • the task of¬†Emergent Preaching¬†would deal with issues of power, voice, dialogue, participation, action, justice & cultural stuff.

This is where the medium must be addressed along with the message. HOW we do something is as important as WHAT we do.

Proclamation is a vital part of the Christian tradition. We don’t want to lose that! We address the form as well.

Why is there one person talking anyway? How is that person chosen? With what authority do they speak? These are essential questions to ask.

  • Assumptions of culture, the gospel, power, structures, and orthopraxy are vital to address in thinking about.

We are always attempting to do at least two things (this is true for every area of life). Side note: this is why saying that sex is only for procreation is ludicrous.  So it is incumbent upon us to concern ourself with present cultural realities as well as desired outcomes Рbecause we preach an incarnational gospel that must be in-bodied (embodied) to survive.

  • One would have to pull back the curtain & examine the scaffolding (assumptions) that hold the entire project up.

This is the tough job of deconstructing a constructive theology. There is no easy way around it.

  • It would be part Liberation, Feminism, Walter Wink, masters of suspicion, biblical scholarship & philosophy.

There is just no sense in even attempting to do proclamation in the 21st century under the auspices of emergence without this. Emergent Preaching would need to be well-informed and undeniably self-aware at some level. This seems unavoidable.

  • But it would also have to be rooted in history, hermeneutics, scripture and praxis. Those are my thoughts on¬†Emergence Preaching.¬†

In the end, we preach the christian gospel and not some form of god-ness or spirit-uality. We are the church after all. Accounting for history, hermeneutics, scripture and praxis is tall order. But what is the other option?


I would love to hear your thoughts on my little list and see if you had any additions. 

You can also tweet me & and Stuart Harrell – use the hash-tag #EmergentPreaching