A dear friend posted this article this morning. I found it very interesting, especially given the (obvious) comparison between college and church.
These were mine:
I love this article, and I can certainly agree from my own experiences that the most effective classroom teaching style is one that incorporates lecture and engages dialogue. Ideally, students come having read the same material, but even an unprepared student can be drawn into the flow of ideas and get something more from professor led discussion than one might from a lecture relying on the same level of prior reading. I think that traditional sermons suffer from the same malady. Too often those listening have no ideas of their own. Lecture does not encourage individual thinking, but rather (by the very nature of the delivery) places supreme authority with the speaker. Too many people then espouse the lecturer’s ideas as their own without having put any thought into those ideas.
I am also a fan of anything more along the lines of how the early church seems to have been organized. Deep webs of hierarchy and bureaucracy take us too far from the purposes of discipleship and focus on external indicators of religion rather than internal realities of faith.
While I do not imagine that lecture will ever completely vanish, I would love to see sermons shift focus slightly, and more in line with (good) academics, and become more about the presentation of information than persuasion. To many of us, when we speak in lecture there is an implied “this is my interpretation of what I’ve seen/read/etc” but in religious avenues the implication (whether the intent of the speaker or not) too often becomes “this is what <insert Divine Authority here> says.”