Nov 19, 2010

Dr. Flunk

"When a preacher is in a slump, or when preaching has no power, this is the time one becomes acquainted with Dr. Flunk. Dr. Flunk, in my cultural tradition, is one with whom all preachers are intimately acquainted. Dr. Flunk visits all of us, usually on Sunday mornings, but sometimes he comes even when we are studying or writing our sermons. His presence can be recognized when everything we say falls on deaf ears, no one says 'amen,' no one even nods silent approval, and everyone from the choir loft to the door becomes comatose. Dr. Flunk disregards our degrees and ignores every one of our academic achievements. He sees to it that the sermon over which we have worked long and hard comes out sounding like theological drivel and biblical nonsense. There is no way to avoid him. He comes when he will. He is designed to keep the preacher humble, to help the preacher keep his preaching in perspective, and above all, to help the preacher refrain from taking himself too seriously. He is a master at his work. Yet we are called to preach in spite of the presence of Dr. Flunk."

H. Beecher Hicks, "Bones, Sinews, Flesh and Blood Coming to Life," in Inside the Sermon, ed. Richard Allen Bodey (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990), 114. 

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