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Creating the Public Context for Preaching
Media institutions create the mental framework confronting the preacher.
When pastors stand to preach they address minds already filled with what people have seen on television, heard on the radio, or read in newspapers and magazines. In other words, media institutions determine the mental framework people bring to church. So, the question of what people and forces dominate these media institutions makes a big difference in how the words of faith can be presented and understood.
That's one reason a "Media Section" has been added to this Public Theology website. We also hope that media professionals, journalists, writers, persons involved in media institutions will become involved here for their mutual stimulation and support as well as to make a contribution to understanding how the church should relate to the media.
And preachers would do well to take time in sermon preparation to step back from the media-created public context, think carefully how words have been defined by the media and how this influences the minds of their hearers, and more carefully choose the words that will get inside this mindset to communicate the gospel.
Jesus did this all the time. He spoke with the words and concerns of his day. He had no status within an institution from which to speak, though people said he "spoke with authority." This was because of the content of his message which amazed the mind and turned the heart. "You have heard it said...(in the public context), but I say to you..."
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