The goal of both the Preacher’s Forum–and the MindShift podast–encompasses so much more than simply talking about preaching. That’s far too narrow for what I want to do. Although that may have been my original vision, just so much has changed since I began this site several years ago.
These two projects–both the website and the podcast–have together evolved into a journey of discovery and deconstruction; in the process, I want to help people learn how to think critically about God, the church, & spirituality by being exposed to alternative points of view.
In other words, don’t let the name of the site fool you.
So, I think of myself as a preacher…as one who is proclaiming publicly my own journey of deconstruction. Does that make me a “preacher”? I guess it does.
Join me on the journey!
The operative word in the title is forum. Historically, in ancient Greece, the word “forum” described a designated place in the middle of a city in a democratic society for citizens to thrash out important issues. The forum was a place whereby people–from all walks of life and strata of society–met together for the purposes of respectful communication.
Ideally, then, a forum represents a safe and democratic space for people to engage in a wide variety of activities: discussion, challenging the status quo, and bringing forth new ideas for consideration–without fear of reprisal or ridicule.
It is a place where change can take place, and people can feel the freedom to be authentic and true to who they really are. It is also about being open and honest; about honoring other people’s points of view, and possibly learning something, and experiencing mutual expansion, simply by participating in the very process of engagement.
Sadly, many churches today do not fit this description–if they ever did.
And somehow, as well, preaching must figure into this whole thing too: should we keep on doing the same old things in the same old ways, but all the while expecting different results? What is the purpose of preaching, anyway? To indoctrinate the faithful in terms of what they already think they believe, or to stimulate, challenge, and explore faith and beliefs together–as a mutually-respectful community?
Can we have a dialogue that is open to other, alternative, points of view? In most cases, in so many churches, the answer is a resounding “No.”
In other words, just because it has the word “preacher” in the title doesn’t mean this site–and podcast–are narrowly defined as “preaching in a church setting.”
Preaching is proclamation–and is all about passion and conviction–and this is why I started both the site and the podcast. I want to proclaim something to the world, and hopefully it will stimulate your thinking, challenge your faith, and assist you on the journey by engaging your critical faculties.
Surely these are good and worthwhile activities; critical thinking should be embraced, and not shunned!
What’s it all About?
Both this site, and the podcast, represent the opportunity for me to put my gifts, talents and passions to use. As a former minister, and as a teacher, I help people to think critically about a wide variety of topics–from church to society, and all aspects in between.
But in order to do this, it means that first we must understand what’s currently going on in our world today; and second, we must learn to be proactive–not reactive–in terms of what the future will look like. We can shape and create that future that we want to inhabit, but only if we move forward in determination and with readiness, and not out of a sense of fear or simply being reactionary.
Too much of the current thinking in mainstream churches today is simply that–reactionary.
So for me, the site and the podcast are all about making use of a wide variety of resources that I’ve compiled and worked on over the years, both in ministry and in academic studies, that will hopefully help somebody out there. If you’re a pastor or a church leader, then you’ll find a lot of scholarly, but also practical, resources. If you’re a student preparing for ministry, then much of the same will apply.
And if you’re an ex-vangelical like me, then you’ll find resources that will help you think critically about your journey also!
If you’re a former pastor or church leader, who’s left the ministry for whatever reason, then you need to listen to my “Rock n’ Roll Soul” podcast series, each of which (beginning with Show 3) is available both on this site and on the PodBean feed.
Do me a favour: please take a minute to rate and review the show on either platform (iTunes or PodBean).
I have also recently changed the name of “The Preacher’s Forum podcast” to MindShift, as it reflects the mission and vision of what I’m trying to do.
Also, if you would like, please add a comment to any post, and I’ll reply!