Thomas Long writes on Barth’s view of preaching and then reflects on the current situation:
People in our culture, “believe in their hearts that God is present, but they just don’t expect to find God in church, in worship, in preaching. God is present, they say, but not in there, not in that heavy and lumbering institutional church, not in that staid and plodding service of worship, and not in that endlessly boring and impertinent sermon. God is present in butterflies and flowing brooks and sunsets, but not in church. Yes, God is present – people today are fully persuaded this is true – but God is present in meditation and in the inner life of spirituality, present in times of inward ecstasy and wonder, present in moments of holy encounter scattered across the landscape of personal experience.”
“God is present, but not in hymn or sermon or Bible or creed or congregation. Barth thought that the people had left behind the cherry tree, the symphony, and everyday life to come to worship in order to encounter God, but today ironically it seems that the reverse is true; people have left worship to find God in the cherry tree, the symphony, and everyday life.”
Taken from “What are They Asking” Circuit Rider, (Sept/Oct 2001), 6. Go here for the full article — it is worth reading! I’ll post one more blurb from it sooner than later in part II.