As a Christian I’m not sure that I’m supposed to believe in coincidence, but the Twittersphere has given me pause to reflect on that today. Within the space of two hours I had one tweet from a Biblefresh preaching conference asking ‘what is wrong with preaching’ and another from a national newspaper about Ask Jeeves’ 10th anniversary.
Allow me to explain. Search engine Ask Jeeves are celebrating their ten years and 1.1bn questions by asking people to contribute their answers on 10 unanswerable questions. Those questions are as follows:
- What is the meaning of life?
- Is there a God?
- Do blondes have more fun?
- What is the best way to lose weight?
- Is there anybody out there?
- Who is the most famous person in the world?
- What is love?
- What is the secret to happiness?
- Did Tony Soprano die?
- How long will I live?
It struck me as I read the list that perhaps the gulf between these questions (or at least some of them) and our preaching agenda could go some way towards answering the question about what is wrong with preaching!
Of course there is a difference between fad and relevance – which we should always acknowledge. It was not for nothing that Karl Barth instructed his preaching students to “aim your guns above the hills of relevancy”. In some ways the preaching agenda is more focused on the day after tomorrow than upon tomorrow. But what about today? If people are asking this mixture of serious and frivolous questions today – shouldn’t we seek to answer at least some of them from the pulpit?