But one of the problems of a Greatest Hits album is that good bands (the ones who are actually good artists and not just over-drugged head bangers) write an entire album to tell a story. Each song in the album contributes to the larger unfolding narrative.
This is called a “concept album.”
A Greatest Hits album for one of these bands pretty much just cherry picks from the storyline the song writer was developing. The audience is entertained, for sure, but they miss the bigger picture, miss out on the beauty of the original narrative communicated through the medium of the entire original album.
This is the way I feel about topical preaching – it’s pretty much the Greatest Hits album of the best concept album ever made by the greatest Artist ever.
Topical preaching can be great. It likes to highlight the passages everyone likes to hear. And, done correctly, people hear some of the greatest hits of God.
But topical preaching has the same weakness as a Greatest Hits album – it can easily miss the larger storyline the Artist wanted to draw us into. It cherry picks the audiences favorites and disregards the larger plotline (context) of a given piece.
Like Greatest Hits albums, I think topical preaching has its place. But I have to admit, there’s nothing more enjoyable and rewarding than seeing the storyline of the gospel unfold through even the most seemingly mundane pieces of scripture.
Good storytellers, like good listeners, appreciate and highlight the entire story, not just the pieces everyone wants to hear. Our story is greatest when it’s seen in its entirety.
*The exception to this rule is Bob Dylan, who has 8,000 Greatest Hits albums and they’re filled with all kinds of stuff nobody wants to hear. And, of course, lots of stuff everybody wants to hear.