Having a regularly updated repository of sermons on the website has long been a dream for many of us. (I use the word “long” in the web sense — web years being something like dog years.) We’d been doing a moderately good job of posting sermons on our site, but then the dream took a Web 2.0 twist. A number of us wanted a “Sermon Blog.” High on the list of people hoping for this was the Rev. Gail Seavey. To quote her: “It makes Talk-Back possible once more.”
“Talk-Back” was a popular tradition in the early days of our church. The Rev. Robert (Bob) Palmer would preach a stimulating sermon, and after the service, grown-ups would gather with Bob. They would share their opinions with great passion and at some length — the way Unitarians are wont to do.
Never mind that 35 or so years have gone by since then. We’re still opinionated and still want to talk-back to our preachers. Congregants have requested the revival of Talk-Back over and over again, begging minister after minister since Bob, but times have changed. There are many other pressures on both the minister and the congregation, and gathering after service is no longer possible.
Ah, but here’s the thing. Times have changed in other ways too. Enter the web. And enter blogging. Many think blogging is just splatting your diary on the web, and while it can be, it’s rather like thinking all publishing equates with novels. Blogs come in a wide variety of forms and flavors, and while we aren’t aware of many sermon blogs, it seems a wonderful use of this technology. Why? Because the site can be updated by the minister, as well as the webmasters. Because it generates a news feed. But most of all, because you can talk-back.