Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Preaching & gesture

"Little oddities and absurdities of mode and gesture which wise men would endeavor not to notice are not overlooked by the general public; in fact, the majority of hearers fix their eyes mainly upon those very things, while those who come to scoff observe nothing else.

"It is not so much incumbent upon you to acquire right pulpit action as it is to get rid of that which is wrong. . . . If you do not care to cultivate proper action, at least be wise enough to steer clear of that which is grotesque or affected.

"Art is cold, only nature is warm; let grace keep you clear of all seeming, and in every action, and in every place, be truthful, even if you should be considered rough and uncultivated. Your mannerism must always be your own, it must never be a polished lie. . . . Stand upright, get a firm position, and speak like a man.”

"The whole business of delivery should be one; everything should harmonize; the thought, the spirit, the language, the tone, and the action should be all of a piece, and the whole should be, not for the winning of honor to ourselves, but for the glory of God and the good of men. . . . Each man’s action should suit himself and grow out of his own personality.

"Be yourself; even if you should be ungainly and awkward, be yourself. Your own clothes, though they be homespun, will fit you better than another man’s, though made of the best broadcloth . . . above all, be so full of matter, so fervent, and so gracious that the people will little care how you hand out the word; for if they perceive that it is fresh from heaven, and find it sweet and abundant, they will pay little regard to the basket in which you bring it to them. Let them, if they please, say your bodily presence is weak, but pray that they may confess that your testimony is weighty and powerful. Commend yourself to every man’s conscience in the sight of God, and then the mere mint and anise of posture will seldom be taken into account." (Charles Spurgeon in Helmut Thielicke’s book Encounter With Spurgeon, pp.147-148,150,159-161)