General News from the Province

Preachers in our contemporary time

Some days ago, during my studies, I encountered with a lot of articles regarding the preaching of nowadays. Among  many others,  I saw the readings taken from the book He is not Silent: Preaching in a Postmodern World where the author Mohler calls up on each preacher to be faithful to the biblical text by preaching only the key message, which alone can save the Church.

In the preface of his book, he notices two tendencies:
  1. The new generation of preachers who are engaged in preaching through exposition.
  2. A deliberated experimentation by many preachers who go away from the biblical text in order to adopt the less offensive methods.

I am presenting to you something to reflect up on and why not even to implement it in our ministry of proclamation of the Good News. According to Mohler, the contemporary preaching suffers multiple effects: The contemporary preaching suffers a loss of confidence in the Word of God.  We are bombarded each day by the words conceived in different forms (in songs, transmitted, imprinted, talked). In addition, the images replace the words. Despite that, Mohler does audacious declaration that the faithful declaration of the Word of God, mentioned through the voice of a preacher, is still more powerful than any image or any piece of music.

The contemporary preaching suffers from the infatuation with technology. Well, the preachers are seduced by the technology and research using the graphical images and the films in order to manipulate the emotion. That is exactly what we are not supposed to do. God revealed to us in the Ten Commandments that he has chosen to be understood and not to be seen. The contemporary preaching suffers from the embarrassment in the presence of biblical text. Numbers of pastors are embarrassed by the biblical text. Instead of preaching about the plan of God ( Acts 20: 27), they put the accent on the passages that are pleasant, less provocative to the modern spirit, forgetting that each scripture reading is useful and inspired by God( 2 Tim 3: 16).

The contemporary preaching suffers an absence of biblical content. It reflects much of current spirit that sacrifices “the important history for the sections of life.  The preaching becomes sequence either of disconnection or disjoint as regards to the text”.

The contemporary preaching suffers the felt needs. Looking how to respond to the needs that were seen by the listeners, well the preachers abandoned the biblical text without realizing. The preacher himself doesn’t know his need which is the most urgent. He needs to understand the Gospel in order to know what he wants.

The contemporary preaching suffers the absence of the Gospel. The apostles always emphasized about the death, the burial and the resurrection of Jesus. A preaching that avoids preaching the cross is not Christian preaching.

In addition, the Christian preacher should always challenge his listeners with the Word of God. This confrontation will sometimes be a disturbance, provocation and difficult. After all, it is the Word that passes through us like a sword, without hiding it or wane its edge.

We do not need to be disturbed or ashamed and neither fearing to proclaim the Word. But, preaching is entering in a state of dialogue with questions and listening, is to know, understand and finding the right attitude, “the good suggestions with an art of responding to each as it should.”(Col 4:6).

We are supposed to know well what makes Christian’s life difficult and rebuke it, but also, to know what attracts and illuminates it (Christian life). Talking about God is facing all those things within us and in the other people. It is talking about daily life, the moral choices that are taken everyday without even realizing, the sufferings and profound joys that build each person. What looks a sequence incoherent of experiences and events can become in the light of the Gospel, unique and holy history, that of agreement between us, others and with God, with his passages where Easter mystery is at work.

But, preaching is also talking about the Christian community, in its local and universal reality, with the debates that arose by this. Preaching is also appointing this interior place in silence in which one can understand a voice that heals and calls.  Is visiting the secret place which is at the same time offering food of this journey, that of contemplation. Preaching is made of all this, listening, conversing, questioning, announcing and accompanying. How do you see this preaching mission, today, in the world as it is?