Less preaching. More storytelling.
The best preaching I heard, back in the days I listened to sermons, were stories. Stories about fucked up people from the Bible were my favorite. That is, any of the characters when spoken of with nuance, opaque with sin and being human, disloyal and devoted like Peter or passionate with women and God like David — but anytime these people were merely held up as inspiration, as insubstantial cloud fluff bullshit , well, then, the stories lost their pull.
The stories that move me on social and other new media are often those about failure, or at least, unresolved suffering. Take HONY for example. Often a single story is both heroic and tragic. No interpretation is given. None is expected. We are just invited to live in the moment of the story, the sliver of someone’s life. Kind of like with our own, really.
But Facebook and Buzzfeed are awash in 5 point sermons on how to be a better person through meditation, lists of 13 ways to sucker punch depression, and boundless sets of 22 diseases cured by a positive outlook. As if all this time the problem was that we were missing number 4. We didn’t realize we were depressed because we lacked joy. But now we see, now we understand, now everything will fall into place.
What is the value there? No one ever wanted to be lulled off to sleep with a list. We crave story.