Preaching in the 21st Century

As I prepare to facilitate a PhD seminar concerning teaching and communication methods next week, I came across an essay by D.A. Carson.  In this article Carson writes of the challenges of preaching (or may be better) reaching a 21st century audience.  Anyone who is interested in preaching should think through his observations carefully.  Those who desire to be effective in the pulpit should appreciate Carson’s balance: primary need for the study of the Word and the need to understand the contemporary audience to whom it is intended.  View the article

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Valentine’s Day & The Song of Songs

I had waited until this time of year (Valentine’s Day) to post my first blog entry concerning the Song of Songs.  Without a doubt the Song is the epitome of what Valentine’s Day has come to represent: love, passion and desire.  Except Valentine’s Day is really for “love rookies,” those who need to be reminded that love, passion and desire should be celebrated.  The Song is a celebration of love between a husband and wife that is portrayed as one long continual erotic feast—not one day!  

While I would love (pun intended), to share some insights into one of my favorite portions of God’s word, I need to move in a slightly different direction.  My heart was touched by an article I read this am. It tells of a couple’s relationship that may seem to be an antithesis of the Song (for medical reasons); yet, it exposes the necessary foundational attitudes and actions that make the Song a reality in marriage.  Read the NY Times article: “Love in the Time of Prostate Cancer” by Dana Jennings.

As I think of relationships such as the Jennings and the Song, I wonder if a poor attitude towards a spouse’s health is one of those “foxes” that threaten a marriage relationship (Song 2:15).

Valentine Day cannot be enjoyed without a commitment (in both words and actions) to a mutually exclusive love (in good times and bad). 

“Word Clouds” & The Song of Songs

A student alerted me to a website that creates “word clouds.” The website is called “Wordle.” According to the site, “Wordle is a toy for generating ‘word clouds’ from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text” (www.wordle.net accessed February 4, 2009). I do not anticipate an application for this “toy” in biblical studies (it does not replace a concordance); however, it looks neat! Check out the word cloud for the Song of Songs chapter 2.