Thursday, October 21, 2010


I knew I was getting good at pulling shots today when a double shot fit perfectly into the wonderful Mickey Mouse cup that my daughter brought me from Euro Disney.  I was so pleased with myself that I took pictures -- something that seemed really ridiculous for me to attempt, but it worked.

For awhile, I was using the wrong cup.  It was more a latte cup than an espresso cup, which led me to pull larger, weaker shots. Then I used a cup that measured out ounces -- an espresso measuring cup -- to learn how much a double shot should be.  I stood at the espresso machine with stop watch in one hand
and stared at the measuring cup, determined to get 2-2.5 ounces in 25-30 seconds.  When i got it down, the Mickey cup worked perfectly.

The cup, it seems, is the forms of the sermon.  In my introductory preaching class, I provide some examples of forms of sermons that, as Craddock says, have demonstrated that they can carry the burden of truth with clarity, thoughtfulness, and interest.  These include Inductive Reasoning, Deductive Reasoning, Definition, Moving from problem to solution, and Biblical “flashback.” What I need to add is some direction on how to choose the right cup.  For example, a sermon should "do" what the reading does.  Sermons on parables ought to be parabolic.  Second, as my latte cup taught me, the form effects how one experiences the gospel.  Trying to get the message to fit the form may weaken it.   Finally, just as the cup should not command more attention than the espresso, the form should not loom larger than the gospel.   So, if all people walk away from the sermon talking about is that the preacher used sock puppets, we cannot say that the form worked.  

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