[ 1 minutes to read ]
Reading for Preaching: The Preacher in Conversation with Storytellers, Biographers, Poets, and Journalists by Cornelius Plantinga Jr.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Two stars means, “I didn’t like it.” Three stars means, “I liked it.” This is one of those occasions where I’m stuck somewhere between. I didn’t like the concept of preaching presented in this book–a twenty-four minute sermon, full of literary illustrations and allusions, delivered by a man or a woman. I also didn’t like the fact most of the examples came from fiction works.
I liked the main premise of the book: preachers who read widely will most likely become better preachers. I liked the many benefits of reading explained in this book. I liked the author’s attempts to eschew the utilitarian reading-for-illustrations mindset. He wrote such things as, “Illustrations can be tricky, as we shall see, and reading expressly for them is probably not such a good idea.” And, “But reading just for illustrations feels a little too much like work. It also feels as if I am missing the point of reading, just as if I read the Bible only to see what it has to say about the colors green and red. I want to be reading stories and articles for nobler reasons while an incident or insight or saying rises up from the page and begs to slip into one of my sermons.”
Good points are scattered throughout this book. You may also have your interest piqued and directed to some new books for you. New reading ideas are always welcome. I don’t recommend reading for illustrations, though occasionally a quote or reference might be useful. I prefer reading good works the way Tolkien envisioned it, to add duff to the forest floor of your mind.
Reading is beneficial for preachers and non-preachers as well. A reading mind is an expanding mind and a non-reading one is a shrinking mind. If you choose to read this book, read it carefully with discernment.