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.

2 comments:

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.