This morning I finished working my way through Fleming Rutledge's book of sermons. I remain 'not sure' about reading sermons over hearing them, but it has been a valuable exercise.
She is certainly a skilled writer, and presumably orator, who manages to pack an awful lot into her sermons, skilfully weaving in things that are in the media, the Bible and some deep theology. Do wonder, though, if most of the people who tried to teach me preaching would say that she has too many ideas going on in each one!
I did need a bit of help from Google to translate some of the very specific North American references, and I did grow tired of openings along the lines of 'not many people come to church on this occasion, so you must be really special to be here' which could engender a kind of smuggness (though I am sure that is not what she is trying to do) but overall I was struck by the skill with which she could hold together seemingly disparate ideas and let them speak to each other and to her reader/hearer.
A profound faith and deep theological knowledge ring out loud and clear; a commitment to a 'redemptive suffering' view of the cross is rooted in a thoroughgoing theology of the trinity that precludes the parody of 'God abandoned Jesus'... wish I could express it as eloquently as she does.
For me, the most moving sermon was 'The Cross at Ground Zero' and the most original 'The Undoing of Death', which was the most honest and upfront exploration of death I have seen/heard.
It has been a good experience to read these sermons which are stylistically so very different from my own and I am sure that in some way God has spoken to me through them.