Thursday, November 19, 2009

Time Out Twofer: #'s 39 and 40

Meanwhile, back at, two episodes have posted I last reported on the broadcasts.

Episode 39 features the hymn "Abide, O Dearest Jesus" (LSB 919).  Southern Lutheran Kantor uses the organ's strings and chimes to showcase the melody.

I am not sure how this one ended up in the "Close of Service" section of the hymnal.  If I had to pick a section, probably it would be "Prayer" or "Evening."

Abide with heavenly brightness
Among us, precious Light;
Your truth direct and keep us
From errors gloomy night.

Then again, the hymn on the opposite page is also in the "Close of Service" section and it contains the line, "Open now the crystal fountain whence the healing stream doth flow..."  When this hymn comes up as a closing, I wonder why we would ask this of our Lord after receiving Absolution, the Word and the Eucharist.  In the words of Arsenio Hall, it kind of makes you go... hmmmm...

On a more serious note, Episode 40 features the hymn "In God My Faithful God" (LSB 745).  I would like to highlight Rev. Todd Peperkorn's book I Trust When Dark the Road. The title is drawn from the second line of this hymn.  For those who are struggling with depression (sometimes you don't even know that you are, but your life is just a mess and you can't figure out why), this book offers help.  Pastor Peperkorn has pulled through his own bout with depression, and offers scriptural insights.

Another beautiful thing about this book is that it is available as a FREE DOWNLOAD here.

In God, my faithful God,
I trust when dark the road;
Great woes may overtake me,
Yet He will not forsake me.
My troubles He can alter;
His hand lets nothing falter.

Peters on Preaching: How NOT to use a Prooftext

Anyone who has had to do a research paper knows you have to prove your point. Cite your sources. Don't forget your footnotes, endnotes, add in that little number at the end of your thought, and document everything.

When I look back on my own papers, it was really easy to string together citations from various resources in an attempt to make my point. They call this "prooftexting" and it is often used in preaching as well.

This will get you an OK grade, but it doesn't make a great paper, and it doesn't make for good preaching, either. Pastor Peters tackled this topic in a recent post.  Here is an excerpt:

When I was in Seminary, one of my homiletical professors told us that every point in your sermon must be supported by a proof text. Suffice it to say that this resulted in either sermons with few points to supported or long sermons that ended up stringing Bible passage after Bible passage. Once, in another homiletics class, I was crunched for time and fudged by turning in a sermon written for this above mentioned professor. The second professor called me aside and said that while there was nothing "wrong" with the sermon, I was to promise him that I would never preach that way in the parish.

I encourage laity and clergy alike to read this post and the excellent comments by Rev. Eric Brown. For clergy, it may help shape your message in a different way. For laity, it may help open you understand to your pastor's style.  For students of any age, it may give you ideas for improving your next term paper.

By the way, if you watch EWTN's Journey Home, you may have heard from a guest or two that Luther practiced prooftexting.  This is NOT the case and Pastor Peters spends a few sentences on Luther's style in his post.