Fuzzy tagged me for this post. I quote:
The purpose of this meme is to get people talking about their passion in life. It’s called the 5/5 meme. Five questions, then pass it to five people. "Expertise" could be your profession, hobby, or area of intense interest.Name your area of expertise/interest: Well, I considered lots of things that I do and enjoy - roleplaying, improv, writing, on-line gaming - but I decided to tackle the one that defines me to most people most of the time - preaching.
How did you become interested in it?
I think I've always been fascinated by preachers and preaching. There's showmanship and scholarship, ritual and tomfoolery. As a preacher you can be both the sage and the village idiot at the same time. Shaman, priests, monks, and holy people of all stripes have always been of interest to me.
How did you learn to do it?
The short answer is, by doing it. The long answer is, by doing it for a long time. I was just adding up the number of sermons I have probably preached over my lifetime and, including Sunday mornings, funerals, weddings, and other special occasions, it must be getting close to 1000. That said, I'd say that the biggest aid in preaching was my background in improv. Improv taught me to think on my feet. It taught me that the best instinct is the honest instinct. It taught me not to act but to engage and to listen more than I talk. All of which are useful skills in preaching. I preach without notes and, as such, I am engaged body and spirit with the congregation, not with my notes or manuscript.
Who has been your biggest influence?
Fr. Peter Bunder of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in West Lafayette is, without a doubt, my single greatest influence in my homiletical style. He is honest, scholarly, folksy, genuine, funny, well read, and totally engaged. He isn't afraid to not know something and is delighted when he does! And you are delighted right along with him. You enjoy his preaching because he enjoys it so much.
What would you teach people about it?
Always preach to yourself first. If what you are preaching doesn't speak to your personal condition, then it probably won't speak to other people. Preaching is first a conversation and as such, it needs to be honest.
If I didn't tag you, feel free to do it anyway either on your own blog or here in the comments.