Years ago I had a weeklong preaching course with John Buchanan, pastor of Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago and editor of The Christian Century. Buchanan embraced Swiss theologian Karl Barth's approach to theology and preaching by holding the Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other.
By this, Buchanan tried to instill in his students the importance of the context in which the Bible is heard and proclaimed. Preachers, he insisted, must be steeped in culture, must know the "real world," not the insulated realm of the church, in order to proclaim the word in a way that can be heard by secular ears, in a way that is transforming to people who contend with the challenges of everyday life.
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