Friday, August 29, 2008

Visuals, Part 3: Visuals in the Bible

In my first two blogs I gave examples of being visual from our culture. In this blog I'd like to build in some Biblical thought into why we need to be more visual images in our preaching.We would be preaching more Biblically is we preached visually. I'm just hypothesizing but it seems the preaching in the enlightenment/modern age followed the track of Paul and Hellinism. Ideas and proposals are what was highlighted and preaching thus followed this model. Three points and a poem please.

It's not that this model is wrong, it's in the Bible, but it isn't the dominant model in the Bible. When you look at the preaching of the prophets and of Jesus you see God speaking through a wide range of visuals. Isaiah speaks of the stump of Jesse's tree. Ezekiel talks about bones coming to life. Darius Slater in his excellent book, Preaching as Art, points out the Bible is overflowing in visual truth. We need to take advantage of this treasure.

In 1 Kings 14 King Rehoboam replaced the stolen gold sheilds with sheilds of brass. This was an image used to convey the idea of settling for less. Haddon Robinson uses the snake in the wilderness that was raised as a symbol for whatever is used as idolatry in our day. Hosea says Israel is a harlot. Joel's message is urgency but never uses the word. Instead he he says to blow a trumpet and sound the alarm. Amos does not say it's time for a test. Instead he says God is going to set a plumb line against his people. Jesus said "I am the bread of life," and constantly spoke in parabolic pictures.

Slater notes, "Imaginative speech moves an idea from tacit understanding to tactile comprehension." Creative sermons should give people something to hold. Visuals are what give people something to hold.

Bible preachers used everyday common pictures to convey truth. What everyday visuals might we use to convey the truth of what we preach?

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