Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Slight shifts in imagination have impact

Mark Batterson writes about "Right Brain Preaching" in his message for Christians in the twenty-first century. His post today includes, "I think the greatest threat to the future of the Church is a failure of our God-given imaginations. The Church ought to be the most imaginative place on the planet. Imagination is part of the imago dei. To have the mind of Christ is to imagine like the one who originally imagined everything that is. No one should be more imaginative than Spirit-filled Christ followers!" He observes,
"What most people consider to be great art is a modest change from the status quo. I think that has huge implications for the art of preaching. If I had to describe what I try to do with my sermons, I’d probably put it this way: I try to say old things in new ways. I try to come at truth from slightly different angles, almost like turning a kaleidoscope. Great preaching is a slight deviation from expectation.

In the words of Thomas Moore in his book Care of the Soul, "It’s my conviction that slight shifts in imagination have more impact on living than major efforts at change." "Slight shifts in imagination" is what right-brain preaching is all about. So how do we produce slight shifts in imagination? Metaphors. Metaphors. Metaphors.

Aristotle said, "The greatest thing by far is to be the master of metaphor." And no one was more masterful than Jesus. The parables are case studies in right-brain preaching. Hear them once and you’ll remember them forever. Why? Because Jesus used metaphors that created mental pictures in the right brain of His listeners.

One key to right-brain preaching is cross-pollination. You simply combine old ideas in new ways. I recently did a series titled "The Physics of Faith." I borrowed some basic laws of physics like Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, Bell’s Theorem and The Law of Entropy, and used them to talk about spiritual principles. Each message in that series was a scientific parable. Metaphors enable us to reframe truth in ways that are biblically accurate and culturally relevant.
Batterson concludes, "We’ve got [to] preach sermons that are left-brain logical and right-brain creative."

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