Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Sermon Burp

Excellent post by Steve Tilley on how to avoid indigestion in teaching settings:

A colleague of mine used to say that discussion groups after a talk were a good opportunity for people to 'burp'. He drew the analogy of a baby being fed - after a while the infant needs to be winded and then some more food can be inserted into the gap. Without being winded a small child will feel full before it is.

It said a lot about that teaching style. The speaker has the food and people need feeding; almost force-feeding.

I have always been a great enthusiast for teaching in a dialogue. I am not anti-input. I do have some resources, training and skills which equip me with stuff to pass on. But the assumption about dialogue (Greek: dia logos = through word(s)) is that I will be as helped by the listener as the listener by me.

Worth reading the whole piece. I find it very challenging as a preacher/teacher: there's usually far more material for a sermon/teaching slot than I've actually time to deliver, and it's hard enough sacrificing chunks of a sermon to trim things down to the usual 20 minutes. But maybe we need to be a bit more joined up, and instead of the traditional launch straight into the Nicene Creed, or whatever, to think about the 5-10 minutes after the sermon as processing time. Or even to split it into several chunks throughout the service, all-age style .

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