Preaching and Reading

“Ordinarily, reading sermons is like listening to an echo. The words there, but the personal intonation is gone out of them and there is an unreality about it all . . . In general it is true that the sermon which is good to preach is poor to read and the sermon which is good to read is poor to preach.”

Phillips Brooks, The Joy of Preaching, p. 91

On Not Dialing It In

“Take, for instance, the matter of preaching old sermons. It is not good. A new sermon, fresh from the brain, has always a life in it which an old sermon, though better in itself, must lack . . . the main objection which the people have to the preaching of old sermons is in the impression that it gives them of unfaithfulness and idleness”

Phillips Brooks, The Joy of Preaching, p. 86

Placement Matters

“What these people have in common is that they are all engaged in a hedonistic pursuit of sensual pleasure. They all want to get laid and loaded. The name of the game is sensory overload. Now if I were looking for a place to shelve ‘stoned out of his gourd,” would I be more likely to put it after joy and before peace, or after excess of wine and before revelling?”

Devoured by Cannabis, p. 20

On Not Preaching the Dregs

“The man is not doing his best . . . he writes his sermons on Saturday nights. That last I could the crowning disgrace of a man’s ministry. It is dishonest. It is giving but the last flicker of the week as it sinks in its socket, to those who, simply to talk about it as a bargain, have paid for the full light burning at its brightest. And yet men boast of it. They tell you in how short time they write their sermons, and when you hear them preach you only wonder that it took so long”

Phillips Brooks, The Joy of Preaching, pp. 84-85