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On Anorexic Sermon Outlines

7 November 2007

Last night I was up late sorting out some filing and had the TV on after the news had ended. I was only half aware of what was on…it was one of those banal entertainment shows. (Seriously, WHY SHOULD I CARE THAT BRAD AND ANGELINA WENT OUT ON A DATE NIGHT WITHOUT THE KIDS!!!???)

But they had a segment on some former child star who had been anorexic and her conversation with Isabelle Caro, a 27-year-old French woman who has been battling anorexia for 15 years and recently posted nude for a series of ads promoting anorexia awareness, especially among young girls who seek to be like the skin & bones movie stars. The segment was pretty much the former anorexic (I don’t know if someone can actually BE a “‘former” anorexic) talking AT Isabelle Caro. It seemed more like a lecture. It was pathetic in two ways. What Ms Caro looked like was skeletal. But the only thing she said in the entire interview was “I hope that someday I will have long hair like you do.” I fear for that woman.

But it made me think of sermon outlines. How’s that for a bizarre segue? Actually after reading Peter Mead’s excellent post which I have copied below, I began to think of a change that I have consciously made recently in my preaching. Specifically, I have begun to make a change in how I preach my sermon outline. For years I have announced each major point in my outline as I came to is. In thinking through why my preaching is criticized as too academic, I have decided that that is too much like a classroom. It gives a choppy feel to the sermon. The emphasis seems to be on the points to be copied instead of the point of the message. In fact, I left out one entire section of my sermon outline last Sunday and only one AR person came and insisted on knowing the points I had left out. I saw that as progress because normally there is a line of people agitated that they “missed” what I had said.

Now, I still have the Powerpoint slide show the next point on the screen behind me, but I think that it smooths out the presentation and helps focus people back on the big point, rather than the outline. No more anorexic sermons for me (I hope!)

Outline, Powerpoint

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