Book Review: So Fill Our Imaginations

“If the parables of Jesus…are meant to be ‘destabilizing’…and if they work according to ‘a pattern of orientation, disorientation, and reorientation’…we should be made uncomfortable,” theology professor and occasional preacher Mark Lloyd Taylor remarks in one of the sermons featured in this collection. 

As a closing reflection on the parable of the talents, I flagged his salient question for further reflection: “So I wonder, when have you, when have we, buried something valuable out of fear, doing the safe thing, only to lose the gift altogether?”

As a writer and preacher, I include in my reading repertoire works that will enliven and inform the preaching task. Since I found so much inspiration and challenge in Into the Mess, I was eager to dig into So Fill Our Imaginations: The Work and Play of a Year of Preaching in which Taylor has gathered twelve sermons written throughout one calendar year for his monthly preaching assignment. Each includes some comments of context and concludes with additional reflections. 

In one excursus, Taylor notes that, “As in all human meaning-making, preaching occurs between the preacher’s composition and delivery and the congregation’s reception- not in either one alone.” Perhaps that is then the particular challenge to make a collection of sermons written for a particular community at a particular point in time meaningful and relevant more broadly. 

While the epilogue begins to name some of the currents of challenge I found, overall this sermon collection was difficult to connect with and was lacking a cohesive throughline. In his conclusion, he reflects on what he sees in his writing, which seems to summarize my experience of the book– someone pontificating on the wonders of their own reflections. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received So Fill Our Imaginations: The work and play of a year of preaching from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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