I liked Johnnie Ray. I know about his problems, but I still liked his singing, so plaintive and dramatic. I admired his girlfriend Dorothy Kilgallen too. She was a great investigative reporter. Too bad they murdered her because she was about to blow the lid off of the government's murder of President Kennedy. So Johnny, rest in peace. There will never be another like you.
But tribute is still paid to this dead singer every Sunday, and daily on radio. Not directly, but by trying to emulate his style, in preaching. Drama is the theme today, and I can see why. It's hard to grab the attention of those Jaded by split-screen tvs, video games, or beer and sports. So amp up the volume. Plead like a baying Beagle Hound. Maybe they'll listen?
Not me, of course. I like people to just talk to me. Hold the histrionics.
John McGee found this out in his career of preacher and then Bible teacher. Recordings from the early part of his life are painful to listen to. Although he had a successful career for forty years as a preacher, those sermons are largely forgotten. John retired from preaching and continued teaching the Bible. In retrospect, he admitted that his Wednesday Bible studies brought more converts than all his sermons. He quieted down, then people listened. Though he has been dead since the '80s, his quiet, patient manner of teaching is still beguiling.
So those of today who would impress us with your power and emotion, turn it off. No more soundboard manipulation please.
Spot light on. Back lighting on. Preacher begins to run through the gamut of his emotions. The finale approaches. Cue in the violins and trumpets. Not a dry eye in the house. Not a wet one in mine. Johnny Ray did it so much better.
I don't want to hear how wonderful you are, preacher. Tell me how wonderful God is, then I'll listen.