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George Buttrick is considered one of the top ten preachers of the 20th Century. He served nearly thirty years as pastor of New York’s Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church. From that distinguished pulpit, Buttrick began a teaching career at Union Theological Seminary, then as Preacher to the University at Harvard.

On one occasion he recalled an experience in which he knew he had preached a bad sermon. Not only was it bad, but it fell as flat as a pancake, so he said.

When he was greeting his parishioners at the front door after the service, no one said, "Nice sermon."

The last person out, a lady, said, "Thank you for that sermon, pastor." Buttrick said, "I know, it was too long."

But the lady replied, "Oh no, preacher, your sermon wasn’t too long. It just seemed long."

(from a sermon by Don Hawks, "Let Freedom Ring!" 7/5/08,

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