About a year ago, Luther Seminary launched a new website called workingpreacher.org. Dubbed as a place “where interpretation meets imagination,” it’s been incredibly successful so far — as determined by things like web traffic, forwarded links and podcast subscriptions — but regardless of how much attention the site has received, it’s primarily been praised as a great resource for pastors and church leaders who are striving to faithfully engage Scripture in the life of their ministry; in particular, by helping them preach sermons that speak into the real lives of real people.
Although it was created by a Lutheran seminary, the site’s content comes from contributors representing several varieties of Christian faith…and they write, speak and offer commentary on things far beyond just the Bible. For instance, my advisor from when I was a seminary student (Andrew Root, who is Presbyterian) recently wrote an article titled “Gran Torino, Christology, and the American Sensibility for Sacrifice” in response to Clint Eastwood’s last movie. And from the video-interview section of workingpreacher (called “Preaching Moments”), here’s Dr. Root talking about how he views religion as an unconventional category.
Pay close attention to what he says starting around the 4:10 mark (follow along with my quote-notes below).
“I wonder if our preaching wouldn’t be more inclusive…if it had something at stake and asked existential questions like “What is a lifetime and why do we live it?” and “Where does God encounter us in the midst of these big questions?” I think part of it is making the pulpit a place where perplexity – where doubt – is spoken and shared in the community. Where we really face darkness together. Where we really stare down darkness, in the the thickness of life….and I think part of the reason younger populations of people don’t hear much in preaching is because they don’t hear anything that’s at stake, and there’s no one who seems to want to, in this moment, bear reality.”
I know many of you aren’t preachers and even fewer use terms like “existential questions” in your everyday life, but I’m confident that visiting a site like workingpreacher.org might be an interesting stop to occasionally throw in between your email, facebook and espn.com. Give it a try…it comes with a money back guarantee!