Seeking A World Without a Map: Some Reflections on Preaching

Dominic in a tree  

“They want a wilderness with a map.”

Boy, ain’t that the truth?  In a world that seems constantly to be shifting beneath our feet, ministers feel that unspoken expectation every time they step into the pulpit.

“They want a wilderness with a map.”

I think that’s why bumper stickers are so popular.  There’s a sense that if we could just get a few things nailed-down, if we could just see a few markers that would point us through the briars, through the overgrown brambles, through the violence, and uncertainty, and senselessness of it all, we might somehow survive another day in the wilderness.

Straight-line, discursive speech that tells us where to put our feet next.  We all know about preachers only too anxious to give it to them.  The sermon as self-help, as moral disquisition, as prosaic orienteering.  “I’m okay, you’re okay.”


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