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Top 10 List: Favorite Quotes from the 2014 Elevating Preaching Conference

preaching-hopeOn Monday, September 22, 2014, I attended the Elevating Preaching conference at Duke University Divinity School. Rev. Susan Sparks, Rev. Dr. Richard Lischer, Rev. Dr. Nora Tubbs Tisdale, and Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley spoke of the challenges of preaching hope in a culture so often cloaked in despair. From the humorous to the heart-breaking, their words inspired and energized me. Here is my Top Ten List of favorite quotes from the day.

  • Number 10: “What trash do you have in your lives, in your churches? Throw it on the mulch pile!” Rev. Susan Sparks spoke of composting the trash in our hearts by casting the garbage on the mulch pile. She pointed out that garbage, when composted, becomes rich soil from which strong healthy plants grow. Bitterness can grow into forgiveness; frustration into patience. (Can I get an Amen?)
  • Number 9: “They say that one of the best things about New York is the food. It’s not true. There’s not a single restaurant in New York that serves pimento cheese.” Rev. Sparks is a NY transplant, originally from North Carolina.
  • Number 8: “Jesus fought for, not against,” Rev. Sparks, suggesting Christians should toss all their in-fighting on the mulch pile.
  • Number 7: “Hope doesn’t like closure; hope leaves the door ajar,” Rev. Dr. Lischer.
  • Number 6: “Hope is like daybreak,” Rev. Dr. Lischer.
  • Number 5: “Too often, criticism is easier than energizing,” Rev. Dr. Nora Tubbs Tisdale.
  • Number 4: “Preaching can be an invitation to lament. Prophetic preaching gives people permission to let their hearts break,” Rev. Dr. Tisdale.
  • Number 3: “You can’t proclaim the good news of God when you are mad at God’s people,” Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley.
  • Number 2: “Sermons preached from an angry heart wound innocent bystanders,” Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley.
  • And my Number 1 favorite quote from the 2014 Elevating Preaching Conference is: “I’m a fourth generation Baptist preacher. When I went off to college, I met Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, and Catholics. I told my grandmother this and asked her, ‘So Grandma, I’m wondering, if you weren't a Baptist, what would you be?’ She didn't hesitate, just shook her head and said, “If I wasn't a Baptist, I’d be ashamed of myself.” (Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley)



About the Author Aileen Lawrimore

Aileen Mitchell Lawrimore is a mother x 3, wife x 28 (years not men), minister, speaker, writer, retreat leader, and lover of beagles and books. She has a lot to say.

Leave a Comment:

Traci says September 24, 2014

I love them all! Hard to rate!

    Aileen Lawrimore says September 24, 2014

    It was just fabulous! I left with two of Richard Lischer's books and a plan to buy some from the other authors. Such great teaching!

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