Saturday, October 23, 2010

Learning By Hanging Out

We went to the Z & H MarketCafe ( on 57th Street today.  The espresso bar is especially neat because a “garage door” opens to the street and you sit “outside.”  The cappuccino I had was quite tasty, but not any tastier than the ones I am making at home.  I am learning and accomplishing!!!

I struck up a conversation with the barista about steaming milk and then pouring it, which is my next challenge.  She was making a latte so explained as she steamed and poured.  I learned a thing or two, which was really fun.  I explained my project and asked if I could come back and watch her work.  I suspect I will.  Learning by hanging out is a good avenue.

How do we do this in teaching and learning preaching?  I suspect this is one way internship is invaluable.  During that year in the parish, seminarians can (ideally) hang with a preacher and ask questions, observe, and converse.   I know this happens during the summer residency of the ACTS Doctor of Ministry in Preaching Program, between students themselves and students and teachers.

When I came to LSTC a decade ago, I attempted to set up a “preacher’s table” in the refectory one day a week over lunch, where I would discuss preaching, sermons, etc. with students in a “hanging out” kind of way.   Students would bring/set the agenda.  No one showed up so I  abandoned the attempt.   I wonder if I should try again.    


  1. though not on campus currently, I would love to see a lunch group get together with the day's chapel preacher to talk about the Gospel for the day and the sermon process for that preacher. When professors preach I think it would be good to get the feedback from students, and when seniors preach it would be wonderful to have the faculty & staff support.

  2. hanks so much for your post. The challenge, of course, is that an entire cadre of students and profs do not want chapel to be "evaluative," as if by not naming this reality it does not exist. I suspect that preachers -- both students and profs -- obtain the kind of feedback you suggest indirectly from people they trust. I learned a long time ago that I only offer feedback on sermons if it is invited. Thus, in class I ask, "Would you like feedback?" And outside of class I only give feedback to the preacher when explicitly asked. I once commented on a chapel sermon and was accused of blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

    I am struck that, in your post, professors get "feedback" and seniors receive "support." Is there a difference>

    Thus, I envision more of a general discussion. It would be great if a chapel preacher would come and both share the preparation process and invite feedback.