Books

Read a book while it is being written, write a sermon as it is preached

Sylvia Hartmann is an author who is writing a book. Not a big deal, loads of people write books.

But Harrmann is using Google Docs to write her latest book, The Dragon Lords. Which means that everyone who clicks on her link to the manuscript - found here - at a certain time of day will be able to see her literally type each letter and watch the story unfold before your eyes.

You will be able to read a book as it is written.

What a great idea and what a great way to read/encounter a book.

To me this is an example, in part, of what it means to have a dialogue sermon.

In a dialogical sermon, there is a primary focus for the conversation and the preacher functions like a guide. As the focus is presented then people are asked to contribute to the creation of the sermon as it is being preached. Where most people will see a conversation others, with the eyes of Gospel, will see a sermon being preached.

For me, the metaphor of a journey does not "work" well to describe the spiritual life, but it does work well for describing dialogical sermons.

The preacher is the guide who asks the community to walk with them for a while. As the community walks together, people will notice that there are other paths to walk down. Through the conversation people may walk down paths and even run along rabbit trails. This can look or feel messy or even as though we are "not going anywhere". The guide has faith that the community will discover together where God is calling them to walk.

Other than helping the community move along the path(s) of conversation, the guild is also the one who is trained to see other paths and trails that the community has missed. Because of the guide's training and education and experience, the community trusts the guide will show them things they otherwise would have missed. (This is why sermon preparation for a dialogue sermon can be much more rigorous than a traditional monologue sermon, because you have to be on the look out for the non-obvious of you will not be able to point the overlooked trails out.)

When an author invites people to read a book as it is written it can be a scary thing for the author because of the level of vulnerability the author puts herself in. Hartmann is allowing many people to see her process, her edits, her mistakes and even provide feedback and input into the creation of the story. She is open to what the community has to say and is able to discover what the community's gems are and integrate them into the story.

Frankly, if that is not a way to do a sermon, then I don't know what a sermon in a community would look like.

What are your morals?

Currently I am reading a book entitled, The Righteous Mind which at times is dry and at other times fantastic! I hope to write more about this in the future but in the meantime, I will share with you a site that is set up that asks you questions about your morality. Your responses are then compared to others who have taken the tests and you will begin to see what areas drive your morality.

Here is an excerpt from the book:

"Republicans don’t just aim to cause fear, as some Democrats charge. They trigger the full range of intuitions described by Moral Foundations Theory. Like Democrats, they can talk about innocent victims (of harmful Democratic policies) and about fairness (particularly the unfairness of taking tax money from hardworking and prudent people to support cheaters, slackers, and irresponsible fools). But Republicans since Nixon have had a near-monopoly on appeals to loyalty (particularly patriotism and military virtues) and authority (including respect for parents, teachers, elders, and the police, as well as for traditions). And after they embraced Christian conservatives during Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign and became the party of “family values,” Republicans inherited a powerful network of Christian ideas about sanctity and sexuality that allowed them to portray Democrats as the party of Sodom and Gomorrah."


His point in this is that conservatives generally have a larger pallet for making moral claims than liberals do. (Mind you the author is very liberal on all accounts). His point is that if liberals want to become proactive in helping others move toward a more liberal society, then liberals must tap into more than just concern for victims and fairness.


Dr. Seuss and Ethics - Repost from Buzzfeed

As a child I was captivated by a short Dr. Seuss cartoon tape we had at our home. It had Cat in the Hat, The Sneeches and The Zax stories on it. And the past couple of weeks I have been telling my son bedtime stories and he loves the Sneeches and the Zax. 

In a news amalgamator I use, I came across this little post in which Buzzfeed renamed some Dr. Seuss classics. 

I did not want to lose these and so I posted them here to share with all seven people who run across this blog. 

Enjoy.