Preaching in the Crisis

I’ve wanted to share this message for a while now. Considering it deals with the same text (John 6) that I discussed in my last post, I thought it would be appropriate to offer it as an alternative perspective.

This sermon was delivered at Butler Chapel on January 19, during the first chapel service I had an opportunity to attend as a student at Campbell Divinity School. The guest speaker that day, Dr. J. Kameron Carter, set the standard high; other speakers this semester followed his precedent, making Tuesday morning chapel services an eagerly anticipated staple of my weekly spiritual diet.

Dr. Carter is an associate professor of theology and black church studies at Duke Divinity School. His sermon digs deep into the meaning of Jesus’s miraculous feeding of the 5,000, as recorded in the Gospel of John. Dr. Carter relies on archeological and historical research to move deeper into this text than I have witnessed any other preacher do, yet he still manages to bring it around to the heavy implications Jesus’s actions have for modern-day disciples. If you don’t believe sincere scholarship, extra-biblical sources and a fiery passion for the gospel can hold places in the same sermon, take a few minutes to watch this video and then we’ll talk.

Let me forewarn you, this sermon starts out slow — very slow. I think Dr. Carter knew he didn’t run the risk of having any of his audience leave the chapel early during the service, so he took some time to build up his message for effect. Stick with it and you won’t be disappointed. If you don’t have time to watch it now, bookmark this page and come back to it one day when you’ve got some free time or just feel the need to listen to some quality preaching. Or, if you prefer, you can download an MP3 of the sermon below and listen to it at your convenience. Enjoy!

In writing sermons this semester, I have been trying to find a balance between reverent and colloquial language; between reading an essay and sharing a conversation. I usually find myself erring too much to one side, and then overcorrect the message to the other extreme — either making it so colloquial I fear I may have offended my listeners, or so lecture-like that I begin to bore myself. I don’t think Dr. Carter’s sermon is the best I’ve ever heard, and I wouldn’t hold it up as a perfect model, but I do think he achieves a wonderful balance between the scholar and the friend.

Let me know what you think.
Does this make for an inspiring message, or do you think too much analysis of the situation kills the sermon? If this doesn’t work for you, what elements go into great preaching that you have heard?

[audio:|titles=Dr. J. Kameron Carter]
Dr. J. Kameron Carter @ Campbell Divinity School
January 19, 2010
Right Click to Download MP3 — 5.7 Mb

About David Anderson, Jr.

I'm a wandering pilgrim anchored in the Baptist tradition, tossed about by the anabaptist current. I am a minister at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church and a recent graduate of Campbell Divinity School. I am the husband of a beautiful woman, and the father of a blond-haired boy. I am a work in progress, struggling to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling. View all posts by David Anderson, Jr.

3 responses to “Preaching in the Crisis

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: