Friar Don Miller. OFM
I am a Franciscan priest. I spent my early years of ministry in New Mexico working among the Pueblo Native Americans and the Hispanics. In 1978 I began my years in academics working as a chaplain, faculty member, and administrator at various universities in the southwest and the midwest. I taught various course in theology, especially in my area of specialty which is moral theology. I have been the Vocation Director for the Province of Saint John the Baptist since 2003.
Father Don's Vocation Blog

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Brother Richard Goodin, O.F.M. on Cross-Cultural Preaching



From Richard Goodin, OFM:


Preachin' in the key of Bob Marley: Last December while on a mission trip to Jamaica, I was afforded the opportunity to do a little Advent preaching. It all began with a class project. I was tasked to develop an evangelical preaching series based on the ideas of the "new evangelization" (for Preaching II class). And as Blogrichard051313pic luck would have it, by the end of the semester I would be in Jamaica. Two plus two: I would develop my preaching series for my Jamaica mission trip. And I intended to deliver the series in Jamaica, to Jamaicans.  


So I set out to find something to talk about. I mulled over more of how to preach rather than content. I wanted to use a Jamaican thread of culture as a foundation. I needed something that every Jamaican would know; it would be a hook. Without such an angle I would run the risk of being only a foreigner talking about foreign things. To end up that way would be to waste my time and waste the time of any would-be listener.


It came like a dream: Use Bob Marley songs. Thus, after about two months of drafting and redrafting, out came a four-talk series. The titles: One Exodus, one God, one Baby, one Love. If you know your reggae or your Jamaican culture you can pick out the allusions immediately. If not, well, the preaching series was meant specifically for those who would "get it" immediately!  


Now, if you feel left out because you might not understand the "one" part or why Exodus or One Love are important to Jamaicans, this reveals an important part about preaching. A preacher must know their audience! When a preacher knows the audience (I lived in Jamaica for a year; and I have turned into a student of Jamaican life in the meantime) then they can connect and really preach the Word of God.    


Take a look for yourself at the concluding paragraph of the four-night series: "Sisters and Brothers, a wise man once said, One Love! That same wise man also said, "There ain't no hiding place from the Father of Creation." No hiding place! None! Ya believe dat? Brothers, sisters, there is no hiding place from the Father of Creation and it is good to proclaim One Love to the world! Because of the Father's love, we say One Love! And because of the Father's love we do not have a hiding place because that Love will find us no matter where we go, no matter what we do. One Love finds every hiding place. One Love destroys division. One love brightens every heart. And One Love is the only way to live life and create a future of peace and respect!"


A man told me afterwards one evening, "Thank you, brother, I liked how you were preaching to us about Catholic teaching in the key of Bob Marley. Keep it up!"


I told him, "Thank you." He confirmed for me that a new evangelization is possible if we just put some basic principles to work. One such principle: Culture is an extremely important medium that can carry the Word of God. Not to mention, we must prepare very carefully in all our efforts to preach the Word of God in this time of a new evangelization! 


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