Theological Wisdom for Preaching and Teaching, Issue 82

March 4, 2016 by Presbyterian Foundation

Theological wisdom (and theological foolishness) is not the private preserve of professional theologians. Many contemporary novelists deal sensitively with religious themes, often offering provocative insights that pastors can use to good effect in preaching and teaching. Brief quotes do not do justice to the novels from which they are taken, but they can provide wise, often startling, sometimes humorous, but always thought-provoking resources within sermons and adult education.

From time to time, the Presbyterian Foundation shares some wisdom from novels as a small contribution to pastors who seek to proclaim the gospel faithfully week in and week out.

On Church:
On Easter, she surprised me by wanting to go to church. She said it would be bad luck not to go. Thus Christianity, once an encompassing cathedral built on swords and crowns, holding philosophy in one, transept music in the other and all the humanity of Europe and the Americas in its nave, has died back to its roots of mindless superstition.
John Updike, Toward the End of Time
On Life and Death:

People fascinated by the idea of progress never suspect that every step forward is also a step on the way to the end and that behind all the joyous “onward and upward” slogans lurks the lascivious voice of death urging us to make haste.

Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

On Faith:
If he wants to believe in that crap – fine, I don’t care. It makes him happy, and I’m never going to be against anything that makes a person happy. I heard him talking to you in the house before, and what he said was true. He isn’t into all that fundamentalist ranting and raving. He believes in Jesus and the afterlife, but compared to some other things people believe in, it isn’t too heavy. His problem is that he thinks he can be a saint. He wants to be perfect …
Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies
Stewardship Themed Materials
“Live Simply,” based on Philippians 4:11, is the theme for recently-released stewardship resources published by the Ecumenical Stewardship Center. The Ecumenical Stewardship Center offers resources that together provide a creative, comprehensive, and thought-provoking approach to encourage faithful stewardship that leads to generous giving. Learn more
March 4 is World Day of Prayer
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.

-1 Thessalonians 5:16-22