Sunday, July 15, 2007

E.P.I.C. Preaching

Read an interesting sermon by Leonard Sweet on wikiletics on E.P.I.C. Preaching.

E.P.I.C.

The word "epic" carries a double meaning of both timeless and timely. The gospel is both. But even more, EPIC is my acronym for preaching that sounds the death-knell for pulpitcentric Christianity and rings the doorbell for preaching that is:

experiential,

participatory,

image-rich, and

connective.

In the once-dominant culture of the printing press, preaching was uniformly accepted as pulpit presentations that were rational, representative, word-based, and individualistic. However, that pulp-and-ink approach is rapidly losing whatever effectiveness it had. For postmodern culture, EPIC preaching leaves the pulpit behind while taking with it the contributions of modernity to the preaching enterprise. EPIC preaching is less a repudiation than an expansion of modernity: rationality expanded to embrace experience, performance expanded to embrace participation, exegesis of the Word expanded to embrace exegesis of the image, and the joining of the "me" and the "we" that's the essence of connectivity. EPIC preaching is a communal experience of the Word created by participation in an image-rich narrative or sequence of stories...

My favorite way of EPIC preaching? I don't always get to do it (and don't make an issue if I can't), but when I'm invited to preach somewhere one of my first questions is: "Do you have a live Web-feed?" If the answer is "yes," I then ask the second question: "Can you find me a dancing partner?"

In this type of EPICtivity, I stand in the middle of the congregation, with my Bible open to a text that is also featured on one of the two screens up front. Together the congregation and I exegete the leading image(s) of the text. The second screen, however, is totally under the creative promptings of my dancing partner. Preferably, this is a person who's grown up on Google, and not the word search function. While the people and I are more and more immersing ourselves in the Word, my dancing partner is Googling the Web for images that are tossed up by our interactions. And these images are flashed up on that second screen as contributions to and animations of our conversation. The energy that flows from these multilayered connections can only be described as "divine."


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3 Comments:

Blogger Paul said...

I would like to hear, see and experience this.
Right now I simply can't imagine its impact.

4:35 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

hi paul,

I too will like to see and experience this EPIC preaching. I will also like to talk with people who have experienced this type of teaching and learn about its impact.

Maybe my mind is too 'modern', 'propositional' and 'linear' in my thinking.

if other readers have the experience, please share :)

11:33 AM  
Anonymous blogpastor said...

Interesting stuff. Maybe we can do it differently but taking the cues from his acronym. Suggestions:
Experiential- good music, rich lyrics, more stories, illustrations, and anecdotes, silent pauses.
Participatory- allowing and encouraging and cajoling responses from people, to questions or affirmations from preacher.
Imagerich- powerpoint with images and no words, and speak to the eye not ear, use image-rich language in sermon.
Connecting - get people to talk to each other, eye contact, and let coffee aroma float into sanctuary to crown the whole experience.
Of course I don't practize all of the above.HaHa

7:05 PM  

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