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Practical Theology

Current Trends in Homiletics: Conversations in Theory and Practice

When: June 10, 2021, 9:00 am - Thursday

Where: Ezell 138

Session 3

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

Mason Lee, Abilene Christian University Graduate School of Theology, “God is More Interesting than Sin: Barth’s Doctrine of Sin as Homiletical Strategy”

The New Homiletic’s belief that sermons run on tension has made it difficult for preachers to speak about sin in ways that are responsible and theologically appropriate. Thus, a common theological pitfall arising from the New Homiletic are sermons that make sin more interesting than God. In response, this paper examines Karl Barth’s doctrine of sin, putting it in conversation with homiletical theory, and considers how it might offer those of us who preach a resource for dealing with sin in the pulpit. By considering sin Christologically, Barth helps us take sin seriously, but not finally.

 

Amy McLaughlin-Sheasby, Boston University School of Theology, “A Word for the End of the World: Preaching Wisdom in an Age of Apocalypse”

Unprecedented global awareness of the fragility and terminability of creation has heralded an apocalyptic age to which theologians must respond. This paper is particularly concerned with the unique challenges facing preachers. What does an apocalyptic age demand of theology, and how does this impact preaching? Inspired, in part, by Amy Plantinga Pauw’s wisdom ecclesiology, this paper proposes the necessity of a cosmically oriented theology, and a wisdom-based homiletic. Wisdom traditions of creation and creaturehood offer a crucial perspective for the development of a homiletical approach which tends to the present rending of the world as we know it.

 

Melanie Bockmann, Vanderbilt University, “Preaching Doubt: Toward a Metamodern Homiletic in the Wake of Deconstruction”

Western society seems to be shifting from postmodernism to a new cultural trend many call “metamodernism,” due to its characteristic fluidity/oscillation between poles. Meanwhile, people who encounter doubt and believe church is not a safe place for difficult conversations are leaving—which means preachers can assume some listeners sitting in pews are questioning their conceptions of God. This paper argues that faith requires doubt, and the metamodern cultural moment offers preachers opportunity to bring complex conversations of faith/doubt into the pulpit, leaning into tensions, letting doubt break down idols of God-like projections, and creating space for new conceptions of God.

Speakers

Tim Sensing, Abilene Christian University, Convener

  • Mason Lee, Abilene Christian University Graduate School of Theology, “God is More Interesting than Sin: Barth’s Doctrine of Sin as Homiletical Strategy”
  • Amy McLaughlin-Sheasby, Boston University, “A Word for the End of the World: Preaching Wisdom in an Age of Apocalypse”
  • Melanie Bockmann, Vanderbilt University, “Preaching Doubt: Toward a Metamodern Homiletic in the Wake of Deconstruction”
  • Sara Barton, Pepperdine University, Respondent

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James Cone with conferee at the CSC in 2017

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