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Practical Theology

Current Trends in Homiletics: Conversations in Theory and Practice

When: June 8, 2022, 2:45 pm - Wednesday

Where: Ezell 207

Session 2

Session Abstract

The field of homiletics is witnessing an eruption of new approaches, foci, and methods.  Claiming its position as a practical theological discipline with renewed interest, the field of homiletics now engages a multitude of interdisciplinary partners. This session brings together academic homileticians and local practitioners to discuss these trends, their promise, and their potential for the practice of preaching.

 

Paper Abstracts

Lucas Lynn Christensen, University of Notre Dame, “Phantastic Preaching: Methodological Considerations on Ekphrastic Homiletic and the Exegesis of Liturgical Space through the Lens of Rhetorical Vision”

Christian worship takes place in diverse visual environments but these spaces cannot fully disclose their own meaning without an interpreter. This paper explores the exegetical use of ekphrastic phantasia to interpret the immediate worship environment as an example of Ernest Bormann’s “rhetorical vision.” As a case study I examine a sixth century address by Paul the Silentiary which interprets the cathedral of Hagia Sophia (located in modern day Istanbul) as a paradise garden. I conclude with implications for imagistic ekphrasis in preaching to form worshippers’ experience today, guiding their apperception of the worship environment as sacred space.

 

David Latimore, Princeton Theological Seminary, “The Neoliberal Homiletic”

Homiletical practices have always contended with the influence of cultural context. The challenge in this moment is found in the influence and impact of economic ideology on the form and content of contemporary preaching praxes and principles. The uncritical homiletical encounter with economic ideology can transform homiletical practices into promulgators of economic ideology This paper explicates a framework for understanding contemporary homiletical models under the grip of the ideology of neoliberalism and examines the resulting reshaping of individual and communal identity in a manner consistent with neoliberalism but inconsistent with the theological presuppositions of the Christian faith.

 

Tim Sensing, Abilene Christian University, “Being There Even When You Are Not: Presence in Distance Preaching”

Listening to sermons through digital media is not new. However, the pandemic pressed many preachers into a medium in unexpected ways. The need for immediate solutions did not allow time for preachers to reflect on what was happening theologically. This paper explores theological presence. The question of how one creates connection and presence when no one is even in the same room, city, or even country is not a new one. The rhetorical concern of being “present while absent” shows up in the writings of ancient rhetoricians opening the door for theological conversation.

Speakers

Mason Lee, Abilene Christian University Graduate School of Theology, Convener

  • Lucas Lynn Christensen, University of Notre Dame, “Phantastic Preaching: Methodological Considerations on Ekphrastic Homiletic and the Exegesis of Liturgical Space through the Lens of Rhetorical Vision”
  • David Latimore, Princeton Theological Seminary, “The Neoliberal Homiletic”
  • Tim Sensing, Abilene Christian University, “Being There Even When You Are Not: Presence in Distance Preaching”
  • Tiffany Dahlman, Abilene Christian University, Respondent

2023 CSC Info Coming Soon

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James Cone with conferee at the CSC in 2017

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Pulitzer Prize winner Marilynne Robinson delivering the CSC plenary address

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Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), delivering the CSC plenary address.

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US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith delivering the CSC plenary address

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David Brooks engaging conferees during breakfast at the CSC

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