You Can Quote Me On This

Quotes don’t work! (most of the time)

For some reason preachers throughout the land believe that stating a number of literary quotes throughout their sermon will somehow better explain a thought or passage while also being a good use of their valuable communication time.

Sure, there are exceptions, but those are usually times when quotes are used to be an example of something, and not to explain something.

Going back to Kotter and Rathgeber’s, “Our Iceberg is Melting” I personally like how they start off their book, explaining the writing of change-strategy principles through the use of a fable about penguins.

They state,

Our method is showing, much more than telling, and showing with the method that has helped more people learn over the centuries than any other single technique:  the fable (pg 3).

Yet, today’s preachers prefer to explain a passage through techniques of telling, building layers of informative quotes and didactic, linear, monologue.

Kotter and Rathgeber go on to say:

Fables can be powerful because they take serious, confusing, and threatening subjects and make them clear and approachable.  Fables can be memorable, unlike so much of the information that bombards us today and is forgotten tomorrow.  They can stimulate thought, teach important lesson, and motivate anyone—young or old—to use those lessons.  In our modern, high-tech world, we can easily forget this simple yet profound truth (pg 4).

Yet quoting some author or historian from the past will only add to the confusion and threatening barrier most people have approaching this ancient text.  Are we wanting to take the easy road out and simply back up our teaching points with quotes generated from a google search, or will we do the hard, metaphoric work of finding that perfect story to bridge the present and ancient worlds, unleashing a whole new understanding and owning of God’s Word?


~ by Dave Smith on June 28, 2009.

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