Currently I’m working my way through the late Robert Capon’s book “The Foolishness of Preaching: Proclaiming the Gospel against the Wisdom of the World” and let me just say my highlighter has rarely seen busier days. Here are some of my highlights thus far:
“I think good preachers should be like bad kids. They ought to be naughty enough to tiptoe up on dozing congregations, steal their bottles of religion pills, spirituality pills, and morality pills, and flush them all down the drain. The church, by and large, has drugged itself into thinking that proper human behavior is the key to its relationship with God. What preachers need to do is force it to go cold turkey with nothing but the word of the cross — and then be brave enough to stick around while it goes through the inevitable withdrawal symptoms.”
“If that Friday [when Jesus died], as we claim to believe, is the best thing that ever happened to the world — if we have been rescued by the world’s champion Loser — it’s got to be surpassing strange that we’re afraid of the very failures that are our personal sacraments of salvation.”
“The sins of preachers — the naughtinesses for which they are despised and set at naught — are the choicest keys they have to the authentic preaching of life out of death by the Passion of Jesus. Unless we who speak the Word are willing to be utterly nothing — unless we’re willing to admit we’re sinners, and welcome the annihilation of our glittering images of moral success and clerical reputability — our words will be nothing more than the words of fakers, and we’ll never come within a million miles of that astonishment at grace which alone can make those words come alive. We must not despise our sins, or fear them as evidence of condemnation; we must relish them as the most impressive testimonials we have to our salvation.”
“All God needs to make a universe is nothing; all he needs to make a preacher is a nobody. And the closest preachers ever come in this life to that most usable of conditions is getting caught in flagrante delicto [caught in the act of our sins] and being told they’re bums.”
So far so good Capon. Can’t wait to read on!