Freaky Friday (January 14, 2011)

This one is really freaky.

The above is a cartoon of Jared Loughner, the mentally unstable (why can’t we say the word “deranged” anymore?) individual responsible for the January 8, 2011, shooting of nineteen or twenty people, six of them fatally, during a meeting held by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords with members of her constituency in a Casas Adobes supermarket parking lot.

Dan Phillips has this to say:

“He looks like he’s just accomplished something wonderful, doesn’t he?  Something that’s left him giddy and proud. He might have just given the winning answer in a spelling bee. He might have just won a scholarship to a prestigious university. His girl might have just accepted his proposal of marriage. He might have just shaved his head on a lost bet with his buddies.

But no, none of those is the case. This is the smirking, smug grin of Jared Loughner, whose achievement in life is that he just murdered six innocent people, and wounded thirteen others.

Why so smug? Why the smirk? Of course, it could be that we’re looking into the eyes of insanity — whatever that is. We are surely looking into the eyes of an evil man, one who boasted “No! I won’t trust in God!”, and who lived out that creed by assaulting the image of God in a score of his betters. He couldn’t get his hands on God, so he did next-best. If we call that “insanity,” we mustn’t do so in a way that removes the moral responsibility for this rebellious subject of the holy King.”

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On a less freaky note, here’s something from Alan Kurschner, over at http://aomin.org.

3 Reasons Why PowerPoint Preaching is Not Prophetic

First, they are boring.  How are they any more exciting than the multimedia that I experience throughout the week?

Second, and more detrimental than the first, they are distracting. They take me away from what is important: the countenance of the preacher. There is just something about a cold, large projector screen vying attention away from the flesh and blood of the pastor that diminishes my reflective soul to hearing God’s Word. And I don’t think I have a short attention span, so I cannot imagine the affect on those who do.

Third, they promote passivity.

  1. Why should I bring my Bible to church and flip to a half dozen passages if Scripture is already in block text on the powerpoint screen?
  2. And why should I try to think through the preacher’s argumentation of how he arrived at each point, since I have the conclusions on the screen in bullet points! Preaching requires much higher demands on its people. So don’t short-circuit their involvement as listeners and thinkers.
  3. And since bullet points are atomized statements, they discourage people from thinking through their relationships. I am a discourse analysis guy (aka “arcing”). Expository preaching is not about preaching bullet points, so why communicate it as if it were, in PowerPoint? Expository preaching is about explaining the author’s argument—whether that is found in Jesus’ parables, Paul’s epistles, or Revelation’s apocalyptic prophecy. Gordon Fee aptly once wrote: “For the sermon to have integrity as a proclamation of the intent of Scripture, it should focus on this question [the intended author’s reasoning], and all its parts should serve that focus.” Powerpoint impedes this expository goal.

In summary, I simply do not find sermons supplemented with Powerpoint conducive to the qualities of soul-grabbing, prophetic, anguishing preaching. So pastors, just focus on edifying the flock’s souls at that moment and allow your well-prepared sermons to speak for themselves.

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Couldn’t agree more.

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