Ministry in an Oral Culture: Tex Sample

This has been a great book to read. It is short and a fast read. Sample argues that the majority of our culture is an oral culture, therefore our communication and mission need to be tailored to that culture. This is a challenging work for seminary professionals who have been trained in literate settings.

There are 5 ingredients to the shaping of morality in the oral culture: “empathy, communal knowing, relational thinking, stories, and proverbs.” (37)

There is no activity more radical and more potent to shape oral cultures than story-telling. (62-63)

Oral culture is more ‘gather-oriented’ than ‘goal-oriented.’ (64)

Oral/Traditional people are not always fundamentalists with the Bible, “Fundamentalism is far too rationalistic  and too ideological for the non-critical tastes of most traditional/oral folk. It finally becomes clear that the issue is not one of fundamentalist commitments but one of traditional loyalties. The Bible is family and home; it is identity and bond. It may not even be read! But it is a basic expression of who they are and to whom they belong. They are not defending some over-wrought doctrine of inerrancy; they are defending the Bible… its adequacy is not in a sustained intellectual tour de force, but rather in its capacity to help people through the night and then to get them up in the morning.” (82-83)


Published by joeskillen

I'm a husband, dad of 2, Pastor at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Wichita, KS.

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