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The Midi Generation


Guest Lee Blick

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...I have a theory that it is harder to write a good, complete and convincing 10-minute sermon than it is to go on for twenty minutes.

This theory explains, to my satisfaction, why so many feel it necessary to go on some good long while after most of the rest of us have stopped listening....

 

...I believe my best clergy have very largely been 're-treads' - i,.e. they have managed to survive like ordinary mortals in civvy street first.  Is this common experience amongst others?  The worst ones were career clergymen, not keen to mix with the rest of us and convinced that they were born to be God's local representative. Papal-style infallibility is common to this class of men/women.

 

Dear Paul,

 

Yes, I have heard the same.

 

I would also agree regarding the second paragraph which I have quoted. Our present Curate and our previous Curate both spent some years working in civvy street - and they are both, in my view, excellent. They are also good to get on with, as it were.

 

I would still be concerned if Tony came and preached for twenty minutes - it is still too long!

 

Twenty years' experience as a teacher has made me realise that people cannot concentrate for that long - much less remember salient points. I am also convinced that adults are no different than childern in this respect. The only difference, I feel, is that adults are (generally) more polite about being bored - and can more easily deal with it!

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All this seems a far cry from the days when John Wesley turned his hour glass over for a second hour and people sighed with rapture!

 

Personally I find I can concentrate for less and less time the older I get. Life's too short to waste it concentrating. :D

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Hi

 

I quite agree - to communicate efectively, the congregation's attention needs to be "regained" every few minutes. I trust my sermons are NOT boring (and they rarely last for more than 20 minutes - often much less, depends on what I have to say!)

 

=============================

 

 

"By perseverance the snail reached the ark"~~~Charles Haddon Spurgeon

 

:D

 

MM

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Tony will know...........

 

I have a theory that it is harder to write a good, complete and convincing 10-minute sermon than it is to go on for twenty minutes.

This theory explains, to my satisfaction, why so many feel it necessary to go on some good long while after most of the rest of us have stopped listening.

 

 

 

'I love the Lord, but I can't stand his friends!'

 

I think that it is generally acknowleged to be the case that the hardest thing of all to write is the short yet complete book or letter. Someone once remarked (I think it was Churchill but I have not been able to confirm this) " I had not time to write you a short letter so I wrote a long one instead."

 

Certainly in the field of textbooks it is much less taxing to write a massive all inclusive tome than a good introduction to a subject. For the former all that is needed is diligence and a comprehensive card index (or its computer equivalent these days) but the latter requires the ability to discriminate between what it is necessary to include and what may safely be left out. This requires not only the knowledge necessary to produce the longer work but also sound judgement and the ability to separate accurately the wheat from the chaff, together with a willingness to discard all that is unnecessary or inessential to the production of an argument. Not everyone possesses the necessary skills and even those that do need to keep them honed through constant practice. Success is rarely achieved on the first draft and it frequently takes a number of attempts to get it right.

 

I suspect that exactly the same applies to sermons. It requires more effort to distill the essence of a message into ten minutes than it does to ramble on for 20. I suspect not all preachers are equally willing to take the necessary time, though one ought to make allowance for the fact that the demands of a minister's work must sometimes mean that the time is hijacked by other demands. I would not have a particularly high regard for any minister who refused to answer a phone call from a distraught member of his flock on the basis that he was busy polishing his sermon. But that excuse plays less well in those institutions which have several clerical staff on their establishment, since at such places it ought to be possible to ensure some protected "space" for the rostered preacher.

 

As I have said before we are fortunate in my Parish to have a star preacher whose sermons are invariably lucid, tightly focussed, make the point(s) intended and then conclude. It makes it very difficult for his curates and visiting preachers, not all of whom are by any means bad. However, in my time I have sat through my share of turgid, self-contradictory waffle . The worst seem to be the text quoters, much given to quoting texts from the Bible (usually the Old Testament) without providing any guidance as to the historical or social context of the times to which they relate, or explaining how their relevance translates to the modern world.

 

Brian Childs

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Hi

 

I quite agree - to communicate efectively, the congregation's attention needs to be "regained" every few minutes. I trust my sermons are NOT boring (and they rarely last for more than 20 minutes - often much less, depends on what I have to say!)

 

=============================

"By perseverance the snail reached the ark"~~~Charles Haddon Spurgeon

 

:P

 

MM

 

Hi

 

Interesting that you quote Spurgeon - judging by his published sermons, he preached for about an hour! I did once, for a special service, edit one of his sermons down to 10 minutes!

 

I probably find writing to time rather easier than most preachers - I spent 8 years producing Christian Radio programmes - and if 5 minutes was needed, then you had 4:50 and no more!

 

You are, of course, welcome to come and hear me oreach - most Sundays at Heaton Baptist Church, Bradford. :P

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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A far better solution, in my view, is to save a worthy redundant organ from the scrap-heap - and spend the money restoring it. Whilst there may not be a viable trade in redundant organs on the U.S., there are a number of instruments in this country

 

Good morning,

 

I do not find this to be the case - in addition to the many instruments that are available through the Organ Clearing House (www.organclearinghouse.com) we seem to have an endless supply of organs coming from closed Churches or those which have bought digitals.

 

Best,

 

Nathan

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