Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Preacher, I

Here begins what I expect to be a series of snippets and notes regarding preaching. Not snippets of sermons, so much as of technique and sermon construction and delivery.

There is no particular rhyme or reason to the order of the snippets, much as is the case with life itself, I guess.

The first such snippet is simply this:

Never say "you see." This applies not only to preaching, but to writing and instruction in general, I'd say.

"You see" is condescending, if only as an implication. It says, sit here and pay heed to me you impoverished little underlings. You uneducated infants, you poor souls who require my personal wisdom if you are to get anywhere.

For instance, never do this:

"Martha was troubled about many things, unlike her sister Mary. You see, there's a kind of anxiety that sets in when we get too . . ."

I'd suggest that "you see" is really not meant to be "you see" when it's used like this. It's a throw-away, almost rather like "you know." But while "you know" is only annoying as a repetitive substitution for "um," "you see" is more than that, I think. It's the verbal equivalent of stroking the beard, or making a tent with the fingers. It's condescending. Don't say it, preacher. Just preach.


William Weedon said...

Well, you see, I *think* you have a point here, but I'll have to ponder it some after going back and checking out the evidence of my guilt. ;)

Rev.Fr.Burnell F Eckardt said...

Ego te absolvo.

Pastor Ceadda Kendall said...

I, too, need absolution. I am sure this is one of my "filler" phrases that goes forth almost subconsciously. ;-)

Pastor Ceadda Kendall said...

I would also add that the use of the phrase "you see" is also the preacher's way of trying to bring forth something of a profound nature to the faithful while trying to come off laid back and "nonchalant."

It is the preacher's feeble attempt to be "one of the guys, which is dangerous."

Rev.Fr.Burnell F Eckardt said...