This past Friday I was joined at my watering hole by my colleagues The Very Rev. Craig Loya, and Rev. John Adams. This brilliant brothers of faith of mine join me in the passion to perform the art of preaching at the highest levels. They have been joining me for a few months on Fridays with their sermons in tow. We pass our texts around and offer critique, advice, and encouragement for our rhetorical offerings. Oh, and we drink beer together too. Speaking of which:
Master of Disguise by Stone Brewing, so named because it is a Imperial Golden Stout. Stone brewing wanted to try the inverse of a Black IPA, a former novelty turned common part of the canon of beers. There are coffee and cocoa flavor and it dense like a stout. However, my favorite part are the pepper notes that give it a bight without being bitter.
While the disguise works for beer, the opposite is true for preaching. You never want to disguise ideas or yourself while preaching. In fact, I would say the number one key to preaching--the very top of the list--is authenticity. It is imperative to be yourself in the pulpit. The same person that interacts with the congregation at coffee hour and the hospital bed has climb into the pulpit and proclaim the good news.
My dad, one of the best preachers I have ever had the honor to hear, once told me "Don't you dare preach something you don't believe. The moment you preach something you don't believe, is the very moment you will lose all credibility with the congregation and they will not listen to a thing you say in or out of the pulpit after that." Consequently, it is better to say, "I don't know" then to try and pawn off an inauthentic answer.
So, go try the Master of Disguise, you'll be glad you did. However, in the pulpit, leave the disguise at home.