The Preacher’s Debate

pulpit_3027cI didn’t debate anyone over my decision to preach by the lectionary (see last post) … except myself. I thought I had some pretty strong arguments, but in the end I prevailed. How could I lose?  (Be kind…hey, I’m nice people.) Here are some of the things I thought through before deciding to move ahead with my decision.

This takes a potshot at your creativity. Come on now, John, this appeal to pride is earthy and usually effective. The truth is that I will be supplied a text, not a sermon. I’ll still study, depend on commentaries, and sermon ideas of others. Creativity has never been my strong suit anyway. I doubt that there will be any perceptible difference in this process, except I always hope to improve!

This seems Catholic. I know, it does. The Roman Catholic church does use a lectionary (one that differs from the Revised Common Lectionary). I probably delayed any interest in the lectionary because of this. (No offense, Catholic friends, but this just relates to the fact that I am not Catholic!). Once I realized what the lectionary was, this objection evaporated.

Do you know what’s happening to the denominations that follow the lectionary? They are dying. Is that your goal? This could be translated, “Are You Crazy!” Maybe, but that is not relevant to the decision. The Revised Common Lectionary was assembled by representatives from a variety of denominations, among them the most liberal. No one can deny that the most liberal denominations are dying the quickest. I don’t claim to have all the answers as to why Christianity is in a bit of a struggle these days, but I do not think it is because of the selection of texts for preaching. It could relate to the content of that preaching, but the lectionary does not direct that.

Don’t you know that the Revised Common Lectionary skips over sections of Scripture – what about that? Yes, I do know this. Knowledge is power! As I stated previously, I do not intend to be a slave to the RCL, but to use it as a tool. I am aware that texts that speak of judgment and specific sin are often left out. They are, though, nearby the selected text – and remain in my Bible- I will not pass them over.

Nobody knows what a lectionary is, it will just serve to confuse people. I’m not quite so pessimistic about the ability of people to use Google.

There go sermon series. All good preachers preach in series. Maybe they do, but my first month in the lectionary will be in the form of a series. This is grasping at straws, John!

Liturgy, lectionary, lectio continua … you’re speaking in tongues. True, high-church language is not in fashion these days.

You do not know any other Church of Christ preachers using the lectionary, do you? Of course I do. But as you know, we are an independent bunch. That argument doesn’t hold much water.

Well, I think I’ve about worn this topic out. In this post I did want anyone interested to know that I did think through some potential objections, and I did treat them seriously. I did read some blog posts by those who have been using the lectionary but were breaking free (as they saw it). That gave me some perspective as well. Looking forward to a new adventure in preaching. In working on my first sermon (early in the week, no less!) I have been energized in my studies.

First post in this series, in case you missed it:

The Preacher’s Dilemma.

Thanks for reading!


Related to the lectionary…

Living the Lectionary

Unlikely Conversation: A Lectionary Blog

The Text This Week

Upper Room Daily Reflections

Living a Holy Adventure

The Lectionary Lab

Lectionary Worship Resources

Pulpit Fiction

Next, a guest post from Ray Hawk.










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