Thursday, March 27, 2008

Book Review: The Jazz of Preaching

I read this book by Kirk Byron Jones on holiday in February and it's been sitting on my desk waiting for a review since then. I try and read a book on preaching on a regular basis as it helps me keep my thoughts on how to preach broad, gives me fresh creativity and hopefully makes me a better preacher. The subtitle to this book is 'how to preach with great freedom and joy' and asks questions such as can we preach with the same freedom and joy and honesty that we find in great jazz. Interestingly, I've just noted that it has an endorsement from Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama's controversial preacher.

I think it works best if a) you like Jazz and I do b) you're African American and I'm not. Or at least American, there were cultural styles, heritage and references whicheven though I've been to church all my life I simply didn't connect with. If I'd taken his preaching class and worked through all the suggested exercises, listened to all the suggested music, thought deeply about all the suggested themes then I'd probably have benefited much more. It is after all true that you often get out what you put in and I put 'in' very little into this book. But then again what I did read didn't fire me up to put in any more. There was the occasional gem but on the whole you had to dig hard. Not for these shores, in my humble opinion.


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