Saturday, June 9, 2007

Festival of Homiletics-(Tuesday): Anna Carter Florence

Dr. Anna Carter Florence is an Associate Professor of Preaching and Worship at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur , GA. The seminary web site says that she “is interested in historical, theological, aesthetic, and performative dimensions of preaching and the ways preaching engages other fields and different traditions. Her research focuses on testimony, feminist theology, the role of experience in preaching, and the history of preaching women.”

Anne Carter Florence spoke on the second day of the FOH. She said some good things, but I took a lot fewer notes on her than almost anyone else.

God is the subject of preaching and you are not: This is the great struggle of all preachers. We want to make it about us! There is a real struggle going on, but it is less between you and your listeners than it is between the temptation to speak about yourself and your experience and speaking about God.

The Preacher and Fear

The fear that holds us captive week to week, is an invention of the system/deceiver/ principalities/etc. It is intended to keep us and the word apart. When it succeeds in its aim and changes to the focus of subject, it wins.

Testimony is the opposite of fear based preaching. It tells the great advertising machine of our society to take a flying leap.

Fear twists simple questions into fearful ones. To where we become broken.

It sets up a false dichotomy where we have to choose between our fear and our own testimony.

Fear of Flying (A love of scripture and the stories of scripture)

We give our people information rather than our love of the message.

We have a lot to gain from biblical illiteracy. If we are the only readers in our community, then we get to call the shots. We hold the power, but not the lords power, its the system power.

If we can instill a love for the text then we are insuring the love of text and it is then the lords power.

Fear of Failing

While fundamentalist churches are increasing and mainline are decreasing. But it is not necessarily a bad thing. Their success is not our failure. We have set up an adversarial set up. Competing to win.. But win what and whose terms? The system is winning. Putting its own spin on our numbers.

We will assume that worship attendance is the key statistic. The loosing church will be driven to adopt the winning church identity. The failing ones need to imitate the winning ones..

Less tolerant for ambiguity. Want to be told what to believe.

Success by numbers is totally rigged. Rigged by the system

Fear of Fighting (Conflict)

Institutional survival

Least objectionable-nothing to do with the Gospel.

(Thanks again to Gavin Richardson for filling in some holes that I had in my notes. You can find his more extensive notes on Anna Carter Florence at:

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