What is Preaching in the Inventive Age?

Doug Pagitt’s new “Inventive Age” series have been great resources in helping re-imagine what church looks like in today’s world, which Pagitt has coined as the inventive age.  He defines the inventive age as a time period in which inclusion, collaboration, participation and beauty are key values. It’s one in which everyone has creative input and is valued as an important resource. Last summer, his first book in the series, Church in the Inventive Age was published. This summer he released two more titles, Preaching in the Inventive Age and Community in the Inventive Age. While they are certainly interrelated, each offers a unique perspective on church in our late modern time.

I don’t want to give a summary of the book, because I would encourage everyone to read it for themselves. One problem he cites is the propensity of pastors to think of giving a sermon as a one-way monologue which puts the pastor in the position of the one, central authority. He calls this not preaching, but speaching. I found it to be a very interesting (and very accurate) assessment of modern preaching. The book is not meant to be a definitive and conclusive word, but a partner in conversation (which is characteristic of the Inventive Age in and of itself). Instead, I want to offer a few quotes that stuck out to whet the appetite of anyone interested in a re-imagination of preaching.

“This is my hope for what preaching can be: a mutual admonition of one another in life with God.” – pg. 20

“[On the act of sermon as speech] If we truly believe that God is involved in the lives of the people of our communities, it seems obvious that we should avoid using a practice that tells them this involvement is determined by others. Why would we call people to a personal connection with God and yet be content to give them generic, universal experiences with the message of faith?” – pg. 122

“We are helped when we understand the reasons why something matters to another person. This is how we grow, learn, and develop. The goal of truth seeking ought to be more than finding support for the perspective I already have. It ought to broaden and deepen my perspective of the world by figuring out how the perspective of another dovetails into or corrects my own.” – pg. 134

I would definitely recommend the book to anyone who is yearning for a re-imagining, or even a re-invigorating, of the role of the sermon in worship.

You can find Pagitt’s books on Amazon, including in the Kindle store. You can also follow him on Twitter here.

Cheers,
Eric

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