"Can preaching recover a Blues sensibility and dare speak with authority in the midst of tragedy? America is living stormy Monday, but the pulpit is preaching happy Sunday. The world is experiencing the Blues, and pulpiteers are dispensing excessive doses of non-prescribed prosaic sermons with severe ecclesiastical and theological side effects."
—from chapter 1
Uniquely gifted preacher Otis Moss III helps preachers effectively communicate hope in a desperate and difficult world in this new work based on his 2014 Yale Lyman Beecher Lectures. Moss challenges preachers to preach with a "Blue Note sensibility," which speaks directly to the tragedies faced by their congregants without falling into despair. He then offers four powerful sermons that illustrate his Blue Note preaching style. In them, Moss beautifully and passionately brings to life biblical characters that speak to today's pressing issues, including race discrimination and police brutality, while maintaining a strong message of hope. Moss shows how preachers can teach their congregations to resist letting the darkness find its way into them and, instead, learn to dance in the dark.
"The son of a great preacher called to lead Chicago's historic Trinity United Church of Christ, the Reverend Dr. Otis Moss III has long had the homiletic arts coursing through his veins. With the publication of his Lyman Beecher Lectures at Yale, he brings his full imaginative gifts to bear in calling on the world to reject the easy, self-satisfied pietism of Sunday morning for a 'Blues sensibility,' steeped in the history of a Blues people, viewing life from 'the underside' as a struggle all week long. Urging us to meet children of the Hip-Hop generation where they are, Moss draws on a rich cultural legacy, from the griots of West Africa to the poets, playwrights, and performers of the Diaspora, to teach us that transformation can be found only in courageously encountering the suffering that has marked our journey from Calvary through the Middle Passage, to the cotton fields, to the troubled city streets of today. Blue Note Preaching is preaching and reading at its most profound, reconnecting us to those lights of the past who led movements out of the wilderness not by talking down but by lifting up every voice heard between the 'blues moan' and the 'gospel shout.'"
—Henry Louis Gates Jr., Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University