Thursday, March 15, 2007

Kierkegaard on Preaching

In my prior post about envy, I shared that I am often envious of other preachers. Here are some quotes by Kierkegaard on preaching that were encouraging to me as well as challenging (envy is now least of my worries).

"It is absolutely unethical when one is so busy communicating that he forgets to be what he teaches."

"It is existence which preaches, not the mouth. What my existing says is my sermon."

"To preach from the pulpit means to bring charges against oneself."

"A speech expert is just as suitable for proclaiming Christianity as a deaf-mute for being a musician."

"The punishment I should like the clergy to have is a tenfold increase in salary. I am afraid that neither the world nor the clergy would understand the punishment."

"The greatest possible error arises when we reduce the clergy to teachers. Imagine that the police, instead of acting, began to teach about thievery."

And last one for today...
"As a career man and job holder the pastor proclaims Christianity. He says: My job is to proclaim Christianity - I am hired simply to preach. And so it is with the pastor's proclamation. The congregation on the other hand excuses itself from doing what the sermon says by declaring: We have so many other things to take care of; such a stringent Christianity can be required of the pastor, the man of God. And thus we arrive at the result: Christianity - but not Christians."

- pgs 350-358, Provocations: spiritual writings of Kierkegaard

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