A long time ago now I made a decision that instead of preaching 3 point sermons as a matter of principle, I would try and make one point in each sermon. It is not an absolute rule, but more than not I stick to that approach. I guess part of the reason is I want people to really get what I am saying. I guess another part of the reasoning was I can make point 2 the following week, God willing!
I find at the moment that something similar has happened with my reading patterns as well. Normally I used to always read to the end of a Chapter, trying to digest the whole story or all the points. Since retiring though, I now find I have time to close a book when I have read to a point that has made an impact. There is no pressure to get to the end of the chapter. I can savour more, make sure I have fully grasped rather than half-grasped what the author is saying. The habit of skim reading has been difficult to break. It goes back to the late 70’s and early 80’s when I was a student, although it is a useful tool to hold on to, as not everything in the Christian book scene written merits savouring.
Well, I stopped at “impact point” today while reading a book I have previously mentioned, “Being Disciples; the essentials of Christian Life” (SPCK 2016) by Rowan Williams. I am making extremely slow progress with the book, not because it is especially difficult to read, but because there are so many impact points in every chapter. I confess it is the first book by Rowan Williams I have ever read and I hope it will not be the last. It has taken me a month to get through 3 short chapters; they are just so good! Buy it!! Read it again and again! Let me share the thoughts that left me shutting the book and thinking with a mixture of joy and longing earlier today: “… what the Church is fundamentally, and must show itself to be, is a place where time and space are given, where people are allowed the space to experience eternal love, a place where nothing needs to be left at the door and where people are made free to receive in a world that can seem to be demanding of them all the time…” (Page 33). As well as joy and longing, I was moved by a slight sense of sadness as I read these words: is this what church seems like to those who attend regularly or to those who cross the threshold for the first tentative visit? Well, I am still wondering….
Give some time to wonder about this with me….
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Thank you Kenny.
Rowan has a deep love for God and the church. Anglican Archbishop Rowan (was) is a very humble man and one who has contemplated deeply the things of God. His books are not the kind you race through but the kind you stop to smell the fragrance they emit.