Giving Blood: A Fresh Paradigm for Preaching

Leonard Sweet is one of less than a handful of writers I am compelled to read every time they come out with a new book. His new book, Giving Blood: A Fresh Paradigm for Preaching, is an example of why that is the case.

It is fresh, as the subtitle promises. It is thorough. It is creative and entertaining and deep. True to one of his recurring themes (the importance of narrative and metaphor--or, as he coins it, "narraphor"), he structures and spices the book with the metaphor of blood. Preaching, he says, is "a sacrificial act," and the preacher is "someone who gives the blood of Christ to the body of Christ." Artfully switching metaphors in his introduction, he writes:
Preaching is the discipline and craft of turning water into Cana wine and decanting the old, aged-to-perfection Jesus wine into new bottles. Preaching is the primary means whereby the miracle of Cana continues, as Jesus turns our life from water--tasteless, colorless, odorless--into homemade vintage wine, known for its vibrant flavor, vivid sparkle, and alluring aroma.
He covers pretty much everything in the book, from why to preach to how to preach (returning to his memorable acrostic, EPIC, to promote experiential, participatory, image-rich, and connective ways of communicating) to overcoming obstacles and more. He includes "interactives" (where he offers rich further possibilities for involvement, exploration, and development) as well as labs, in which he walks the reader through a sermon-building or sermon-giving process. And he does it all with his usual flair for language, humor, and creativity.

Giving Blood is a great book on preaching that I hope and pray will lead to more great preaching. We need it.

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