Preaching from the Old or First Testament (Hebrew Scriptures) can be challenging. In part that is due to the tendency that many Christians have of reading the First Testament through a New Testament/Christo-centric lens so that the First Testament isn't allowed to speak for itself. It also has "stuff" that makes us uncomfortable, like calls for ethnic cleansing. This Summer (when I'm not out of the pulpit) I'm working through the stories of Saul and David (1 and 2 Samuel), and at least one story from 1 Kings about Solomon. Last night I h ad a video chat with my publisher Henry Neufeld of Energion Publications about the challenges and possibilities of preaching from the Hebrew Scriptures. We talked about divine wrath, Marcionism, and letting the text speak for itself. We talked about the lectionary and how it excises some of the difficult passages. I invite you to watch:
I should mention that Henry brought up two of my books -- brief ones that sort of connect. My book From Words of Woe to Unbelievable News: Alternative Voices for the Lenten Journey takes up a series of Gospel readings from David Ackerman's alternative lectionary Beyond the Lectionary: A Year of Alternatives to the Revised Common Lectionary. David's alternative lectionary takes us to some of the darker texts that the RCL avoids. The other book is my attempt to articulate a theology of biblical authority in conversation with Karl Barth: The Authority of Scripture in a Postmodern Age: Some Help from Karl Barth (Topical Line Drives Book 9).