Monday, April 6, 2009

Cooking Sermons

Have you ever noticed that in near darkness, you can see things better if you look at them in your peripheral vision?

I have that same sort of experience with my work. Sometimes when I am looking directly at the page and trying hard to come up with sermons or lessons or materials of some sort, I can't seem to get anywhere.

Then, when I am occupied with some unrelated task like driving, the ideas about the sermons, etc. begin to flow freely. Of course, I usually cannot stop right where I am and take down the ideas - (I'm busy driving!) Even if I try to write it down or record it, the flow of thought becomes restricted again.

I've learned that I am better off to just let the ideas flow rather than to try to capture them right away. Instead I play with them for a while. I let them flow in images as much as in words, and try not to spoil the moment by getting too specific. Then, later I can remember the basic shape of the ideas and get them down on paper when I am free to concentrate.

So, what do I do in the study? I read the text I am studying. I jot down notes about it. I read cross references. I check time-lines or charts or whatever I have that might be suggested by the text. Then I dream about it a little. I juggle. I sort through piles on my desk. I read an unrelated book. I play my flute. Then I write a bit more and put it away to turn my attention to some other task.

That's the way it works for me.


MomE said...

Whoa...and we thought you were just playing around! He he he! You are David with the flute...instead of David with the harp! I tried the peripheral vision thing...and you're right...that's weird! Never noticed it before!

Paul said...

Hmm, I know just what you mean about the block of free flowing thoughts in the preparation of message. Not that I have put many together, and I am hopeing that these years of college will help, but i do know what you mean. And like this week, I have so much to do that I often think that if I stayed up every night and day for this week it still wouldnt be enough time to get everything done. I get the feeling that I just want to ball up and hide, until I face the realities of the ministry, which is never ending. I will try that which you said about taking the thoughts and playing with them while im away from the desk, and see if that will help.