Why Preachers Procrastinate.


The homiletic process never gets easier. Talk about writer’s block! How about the homiletician’s obstruction! The writer worries about the fall into the imperfection of words the realm of perfect thought. He worries that the description he imagined will keep degrading to a farce with every word he chooses. That is what words are, ever narrowing funnels, in one sense, as each word limits the next word you can choose, grammatically and conceptually. But this specification is not necessarily clarity as words, by nature, are ambiguous, which, paradoxically allows for communication. If it is too specific and clear then it has a one-on-one identification and thus cannot communicate. It needs to refer to many things for it to mean something. This also means that it will mean many things to others. This is the inherent struggle with words that faces every writer.

 As a homiletician, it is the same battle but add upon it the claim that the words will be the Words of God. Not only do you have the confusion of words, but you also have the ambiguity of the preacher. Every homiletician is ambiguous, that is, he is not perfect. He is a conglomeration of selfishness and self-giving, desire for God’s glory and ambition, of wanting to speak the truth but hungry for applause, a prophet challenging the status quo and a priest who encourages stability, a servant and a paid CEO, a God-child and child of the devil as he still has tendency towards fibbing.

That is why though I sometimes think, jot notes, organize, and think again before I ever pen a single word. I dread the moment of typing the first word, and how it sets me on a path and ambiguity. Procrastination is a bastard of perfection.
Perhaps desiring perfection is the greater danger. Incarnation is the deity somehow mixed with the warts of humanity, and preaching is the full force of the Truth through stumbling human words that always has some hidden deception.
Grace is the antidote to perfection and so procrastination. Grace gives us confidence to take risks, the risk of loving in midst of need for love, the risk of preaching God’s Word with my own inflections and imperfections.

One Reply to “Why Preachers Procrastinate.”

  1. Pastor SamI was just praying for the church and for you and I felt somewhat compelled to write. I realize that I don’t have your email address. After searching and searching, I almost gave up but decided to leave a comment on your blog. You are way too deep and philosophical for me, but I like the way the words you write sound in my head. You know, considering all the things that have been happening in the church and in the community in general, I have been thinking that your work as an EM pastor is a hundred times harder than a missionary in Africa, for example. At least the Natives have a good excuse for behaving the way they do….they never heard about Jesus before. But you deal daily with people who profess to know Jesus, and yet their actions and intentions sometimes make the “Natives” seem like angels. I want to confess that I am one of those persons. I love Jesus and yet I have trouble loving my neighbor…actually sometimes I even have trouble loving my family and friends. Last Sunday, your message about unleashing the power of God’s truth really struck me. How else will the world know that we are with Jesus.You are continually challenging me and even making me feel uncomfortable. That is a good thing because then I know the direction I need to grow in.You speak so naturally from the pulpit I had no idea you struggled so much with the words. Words certainly do narrow things but they also open up a space to be filled with infinite things. At any rate, know that a humble and fallible servant is praying for you and yours.Ellen

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