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.