What does a pastor have in common with a politician or actor?
Public Speaking. Were you expecting a bad joke about drug addiction or sexual immorality? ha. I would hope that pastors are a bit more believable, as well.
When I began as a pastor I don't think I realized that holding someone's attention for longer than 5 minutes was such a skill or art form. I have immense respect for teachers and professors who sometimes teach 3 hour classes without break. I also have immense respect for pastors who preach the word of God in the face of sin, hatred, fear, doubt, etcetcetc.
You may notice (if you read my blog) that I haven't posted my sermons or "Java with Jack" for the past several weeks. This isn't because I am not preaching, but because I haven't been in my usual contemporary worship services. Hopefully I can post the audio this week because I really enjoyed the sermons I preached, they just were not as easily transferable to my blog.
But back to my post, you might think it goes without saying that Pastors are preachers. "Preacher" and "Pastor" are almost interchangeable in our society. Which is fine I guess, but it shows just how stereotypical the archetype has become. But Pastors do more than preach. But they should preach the truth.
There are different kinds of truth. There are probably a million ways to know truth, but two specifically pertain to preaching.*
There is intellectual truth. You can know things because you've studied. Whether it is knowing as Descartes did or simply being able to hold something in your hand and know it's real, this kind of truth is simply in your brain.
There is experiential truth. These are things that maybe don't make much sense (don't comply easily with intellectual truth) but simply feel right. You could call this what you know in your heart.
Head and heart.
I love preaching because I can speak from both experiential and intellectual truth about a God that loves this world and the people in it.
John Wesley's "Wesleyan Quadrilateral" is another way of talking about truth.
Preaching, in it's best moments, enables God to speak to the hearer. Preaching, in it's worst moments, hinders God's voice. Jesus harped on the Pharisees because they built up heavy burdens for their listeners and didn't lift a finger to help them.
Preaching should be about helping. It should be about faith, hope, and love. If it is about anything else, I might a well be a politician or an actor.
* - Look, I'm an ordained United Methodist Elder. Jesus is a given as truth, relax. :)