Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.

8/17/2006

Relevance

Better known than the author of The Odyssey

According to a Reuter's article Current events dwarfed by pop culture most Americans know little about our shared heritage. For example:
  • 20.5% of us know that The Iliad and The Odyssey are the epic poet Homer's great works, while...
  • 60% of Americans know that Bart is Homer's son on The Simpson's.

  • 37% knew that Mercury is the planet closest to the sun, while...
  • 60% of those surveyed Krypton is Superman's home planet.

  • 42% can name the three branches of our government—judicial, executive and legislative, while...
  • 74% can name the Three Stooges—Larry, Moe and Curly, and...

  • 11% were able to name the Supreme Court Justice confirmed in January 2006 as Samuel Alito, while...
  • 23% were able to identify the most recent winner of the television talent show American Idol as Taylor Hicks.

Relevance is one of the values of King of Peace as we follow Jesus' example of starting with someone where they. Relevance in preaching and teaching comes first in the knowledge that the 2,000 year old words of scripture are more relevant to our lives than the embarassing thing Paris Hilton just did or the latest twist and turn in Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's relationship.

In the archives you'll find sermons that use a video clip from The Simpson's, Boldness in Prayer, another with a scene from the movie The Lord of the Rings, The Power of We, and a talk on Why Does God Allow Suffering that works from a scene in the movie Dogma.

I use video and sound clips and other similar devices to get attention and to throw people off a bit from what one expects in church while connecting the sort of things we see in daily life to things eternal. When it works well, these cultural references allow us to move from the pop culture knowledge we share to the biblical truths for which we thirst.

What do you think about how the eternal is revealed to be relevant to our daily lives? How can we share this relevance we experience without it being just a gimmick?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

2 Comments:

  • At 8/17/2006 9:22 AM, Anonymous William said…

    My first experience of using cultural references coupled with modern technology was at King of Peace. At first I was taken aback because it felt almost sacreligious but quickly realized that here was the best of both worlds. Incorporating cultural references enhanced the appeal without taking away from the message. The technique also works to hold the congregation's attention. I think the problem is that other churches and/or denomiations become so culturally savvy that the message is lost in the medium. They look too slick, too hip and most people can quickly spot the difference. This blog is proof that facets of modern culture can be put to good effect in spreading the gospel while maintaining its integrity..

     
  • At 8/17/2006 9:37 AM, Anonymous Steve+ said…

    I have a high school student who is a part of a after school work program who comes in and does secretarial duties for me for an hour and a half in the afternoon. Yesterday I needed her to send out a mailing. She came to me and asked how do you address an envelope. She has been sending email since she was in the womb and has probably never sent a "real" letter. Do we help people by keeping up with technology in worship or do we add to the decreasing attention span of adults and children. I served in a parish (not Episcopal :-) ) one time where the pastor had to have a visual aid or some gimmick in every sermon. I don't think he could rely on simply telling the story. I don't know if it was because people are so condidtioned to visuals that they can't listen or if we preachers have been so conditioned that people need visuals that we can't preach. Barbara Brown Taylor once wrote that preaching is not art or science, it's alchemy. I think she's right. I'm not sure what is good preaching. The stuff I see on tv strikes me as horrible but there are thousands of people in the pews who think it's the best thing since sliced bread. Some people like stories and some like teaching and some like shouting. I know what I like.
    All this is to say I don't know the answer to the question!

     

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