Christ In Winter: Reflections on Faith and Life for the Years of Winter…
I have been thinking about the “hinge” books in my life, those books that open a door in a unique way. There are hinge occasions that are not books, of course—people, events, places, movies. Books have a special niche of hinge importance, though--especially to people of my generation, who did not have access to more modern forms of input when we were in our hinge years--because they take time. If a book has hinge importance, you don’t just glimpse it, you ingest it. And you may go back to it time and again…
Here are my hinge books:
TRAMP, THE SHEEP DOG by Don Lang, pictures by Kurt Wiese.
THE PREACHER AND HIS AUDIENCE, By Webb Garrison
JESUS OF NAZARETH by Gunther Bornkamm.
MAN’S NEED AND GOD’S ACTION by Reuel Howe
IDENTITY & THE LIFE CYCLE by Erik H. Erikson
THE IMMENSE JOURNEY by Loren Eiseley
GUILT, ANGER, AND GOD by C. Fitzsimmons Allison
PROFESSION: MINISTER by James Glasse
LOVE, MEDICINE, AND MIRACLES by Bernie Siegel
JESUS, A NEW VISION by Marcus Borg
BIOGRAPHY AS THEOLOGY by Wm. McCutcheon
That is too long a list to explore at one time, so I’m going to do only one book per column. I talked about Tramp, The Sheep Dog in the column of M, 9-10-18.
Today’s hinge book is… THE PREACHER AND HIS AUDIENCE, By Webb Garrison
My first continuing education experience as a preacher was The School of the Prophets, for Indiana Methodist ministers, at Depauw University, in 1957. Actually, it was a continuing ed experience only for the other 200 or so in attendance. It was my very first experience at preacher education. I had been appointed to three little churches during my sophomore year at IU, without any education or experience or credentials to qualify me for such a responsibility. To say I was eager and ready to absorb anything I could learn at The School of the Prophets is an understatement!
In addition to plenary sessions and other activities, I had a workshop on preaching with Webb Garrison. I was delighted. He told me to preach exactly the way I already was—tell lots of stories and don’t try to tell people what they mean. That’s what I was doing, simply because I didn’t know what the stories meant, anyway. That’s what Jesus did, Dr. Garrison said—tell stories and ask questions. This was great news. I was already preaching like Jesus!
So I bought Garrison’s book, which was really just an expansion of what I learned in 2 or 3 hours in his workshop, with some extra stories thrown in. I’m not sure I ever read it completely through, but I have read many other books on preaching, many of them quite good, but none like that first one, my hinge book.