Friday, April 25, 2008

The Current Preaching Emergency

Brueggemann (2007) Minneapolis, Fortress Press

Walter Brueggemann is Professor of Old Testament Emeritus in the William Marcellus McPheeters chair at Columbia Theological Seminary.

Finally, another book by Brueggemann on preaching. Brueggemann is one of my favourite OT scholars. Knowledgeable, precise, incisive with a deadly wit, he does not suffer fools gladly. However, he is a prophet crying in the wilderness on a number of topics. One of them is preaching and he is declaring for a state of emergency on preaching.

He writes,

On all counts, the act of preaching is:
  • foolish because in the congregation some know more and because in every congregation there are those ideologically committed in ways that preclude serious listening...
  • dangerous if it is fruitful, because the powers of retrenchment are every-where among us, a passion to keep things as they were before utterance. Ideological resistance is readily evoked in most congregations...
  • a risky self-exposure of the preacher, who at best is vulnerable in the precariousness of the utterance. Every preacher knows with some regularity that what is said and what must be said inescapably expose the preacher as something of a fraud, for good preaching must speak truth to which the preacher's own life does not always attest...

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