Dictionary.com defines a homily as “a lecture or discourse on or of a moral theme.” The best homilies, in my opinion, are those that begin with a personal story from the minister or other speaker before transitioning to an explanation of morals and values. As surprising as it may seem, my favorite aspect of the monologue is the transition itself.
I delight in the methods the speaker employs to shape his anecdote into a thoughtful explanation of some other idea for his audience. Occasionally I even find myself distracted as I wait to hear how the speaker will tie together his vacation to England with God condemning sinners, or his daily bike ride with the devil’s temptation.
The most skillful segues are seamless. Though these lofty transitions convey the speaker’s message more clearly, they distract the listener from the pleasures of an awkward transition by focusing his attention on the actual purpose of the speech.
I believe part of the allure of the segue, at least for me, is my desire to include them in my own speech. Imagine a friend who seemingly finds a religious meaning in everything. Perhaps the two of you are casually driving in a car, when your friend suddenly blurts out, “This car ride is JUST like the disciple’s road to Emmaus!” . We can chuckle at the thought without sounding sacrilegious.
However, I digress. There are dozens of other aspects to a speech which can be analyzed, critiqued, and praised. I simply advise that the next time you find yourself losing interest in speaker, one easy strategy to regain focus is to perk your ears for the imminent transition phrase leading to the all-encompassing point.