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Plagiarizing from Yourself?

25 September 2008

image Fred Lybrand gives an interesting perspective/apologetic for "preaching on your feet": 

Years ago, I had a conversation with the elders of the church I was then serving, explaining my discoveries and burden to learn to preach on my feet. In that discussion I observed to them that between the time I finish a sermon on a Thursday or Friday and the delivery of the sermon on Sunday, I continue to grow in the Lord; therefore, if I preached on Sunday something I concluded on an Friday, it’s plagiarism, because it was written by another person (that is, who I was on Friday)!  You may think this is a play on logic, but it’s actually a play on truth. We are the person we are in the moment we preach; and when we copy, even ourselves, it has the cavernous sound of an echo.

While there may be legitimate reasons for "preaching on your feet" (as he calls it as opposed to extemporaneous preaching), this doesn’t wash with me. 

Although I have used a manuscript almost all of my preaching years, it grows/morphs up until the time I step into the pulpit (and then morphs again sometimes between services!)  I am adding comments in the margins and extra add-in sheets up to the preaching moment.

Much to my wife’s consternation, I never "finish" a sermon until it is preached.  (She says that the last day or so should only be left for memorizing and practicing). As Lybrand accurately notes, God continues to speak into my life but it is not difficult to adjust even a manuscript sermon to reflect what God is saying. 

None-the-less, I am finding "Preaching on Your Feet" fascinating.

Extemp Preaching

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