I know the mere mention of President Obama arouses a litany of responses, some good and some bad. My intention is not to say anything about whether I approve or disapprove of Obama and his performance and policies as president. Whether you and I like Obama or not, we have to be willing to admit that he is widely considered an excellent and articulate speech giver. That is why the excerpt below from an article I read on Yahoo News deserves our attention so that we might learn something about the difficulty of communicating the very precious word of God.
Perhaps a lesson that we could learn from the analysis of the article is that skill and eloquence do not necessarily mean that people will remember what was said. But as much as anything, I hope this article would serve to humble us and cause us to depend on God through the power of the Holy Spirit, and that pastors and even Bible study teachers would be challenged to constantly be critiquing their own style so that memorable and impacting truths would be spoken to the people who listen. May God, through the work of the Holy Spirit, make every pastor and teacher memorable for the praise of His glory and the encouragement of others.
NEW YORK – As a supporter of Barack Obama for president, former JFK speechwriter Ted Sorensen welcomed the young Democrat as a winning, Kennedy-esque orator who didn’t bore the public with “five-point programs” and lectures more fit for campuses than for campaigns.
But as Obama prepares to deliver his first State of the Union address, Sorensen wonders if the president hasn’t become more like the politicians he supposedly displaced.
“He is still a very eloquent, articulate speaker,” Sorensen says. “He is clearly well informed on all matters of public policy, sometimes, frankly, a little too well informed. And as a result, some of the speeches are too complicated for typical citizens and very clear to university faculties and big newspaper editorial boards.”
Authors, editors and speechwriters interviewed by The Associated Press agree that Obama is indeed a gifted and effective speechmaker, able to set a new tone with the Middle East in his Cairo speech or to turn public opinion, at least temporarily, in favor of changing the health care system after his address to Congress.
But even admirers have a hard time remembering what he actually says.