This semester I am anchoring a class in Homiletics.  I am looking forward to the class as a whole though some topics are very much out of my depth of experience, thankfully I have a battery of good visiting lecturers to help.

One question I want to raise in class is what topics can you not preach on, particularly biblically?  So far we have had one suggestions – clowns.  And saying “the joy of the Lord is my strength” I don’t think will make that topic come alive.

I have thought of areas such as depression, alcohol abuse, incest, romance, lying, loyalty, lust and many easier topics to have biblical texts to preach from.  One I have got stuck on is drug abuse – I can not think of a biblical reference about this – though there is the issue of the use of “pharmaceuticals” as the word in the greek would be today.

Now I next think what it would mean to preach on these in a way that is biblical and still provides a vision of God’s Kingdom that does not condemn nor condone sin but looks to the Spirit to convict of sin and for people to have the freedom to repent or ask for healing as necessary.  This makes the preaching task not a simple find a text and preach it but to move between two worlds as is the title of John Stott’s classic work on preaching.