This world. This place. This life.

Big thoughts, short form

1 Comment

scissorThere are four letters and a punctuation mark that every wordsmith needs to know: TL;DR.

Preachers and bloggers are my focus, but these days, everyone who communicates needs to understand “too long; didn’t read.”

This is the age of the tweet, the text, the status update.

Patterns of attention are changing. Smart communicators adapt, and draw a crowd. Curmudgeons complain to shrinking audiences.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a sermon—something I rarely do.

My seminary training and preaching experience have created a sermon-length set-point in my mind. I write and write until it feels like I’ve got about 15-20 minutes of talking time.

But this time, both preparation and delivery felt too long. Arduous. Wearisome.

And a liberating thought emerged from that discomfort: what if it doesn’t have to be this way?

What if it shouldn’t be this way?

What if there’s a better way?

What if a “sermon” was no longer than five minutes? What if each worship service had three sermons, each delivered by a different preacher—and not necessarily the congregation’s minister? What if we freed our imagination from rigid forms of training and experience? What if we designed every element of a worship service with changing attention spans in mind?

What if, in moving forward, we learned from the ancient practice of lectio divina, nibbling and savoring the Word in small, delicious bites?


Photo by James Bowe, used under a Creative Commons attribution license


One thought on “Big thoughts, short form

  1. One way I enhance a sermon is to increase the amount of white space on its pages. It invites me to pause, so others can hear, reflect, embroider inside. Reminds me that we are working on sacred dialogue.

    So it’s still twenty minutes on the clock, maybe somewhat fewer on the word count.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s