Preaching and the Human Condition
In the wake of Enlightenment emphasis on the individual and confidence in human progress/ability, sermons often suffer from a lack of adequate analysis and presentation of the human condition. The result is that preachers either 1. (intentionally or unintentionally) offer...
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In the wake of Enlightenment emphasis on the individual and confidence in human progress/ability, sermons often suffer from a lack of adequate analysis and presentation of the human condition. The result is that preachers either 1. (intentionally or unintentionally) offer self-help type messages or 2. fail to help hearers experience the breadth of the good news of Jesus Christ because the "bad news" of the world is not presented with weight.
In this work, the author proposes to use the pericope in which Jesus is asked about the greatest commandment (Mk 12:28-31) as a lens for preachers exploring the human condition cumulatively from three different perspectives across the course of their preaching week in and week out.
"Love God" suggests a perspective in which the human condition is seen in relation to a broken relationship between humanity and God (vertical).
"Love neighbor" suggests a perspective in which the broken relationship is between humans and others (horizontal).
And "as yourself" suggests a brokenness in relationship to one's self (inner).
While different theological schools have emphasized these perspectives differently as the starting points for their anthropology, views of sin, etc., all schools include all three perspectives.
In individual chapters, the author will unpack these three perspectives theologically, move to suggest practical homiletical approaches to preaching in relation to each perspective, and provide a sample sermon dealing with that perspective.
O. Wesley Allen, Jr. (Ph.D., Emory University) is Assistant Professor of Homiletics and Worship at Lexington Theological Seminary, Lexington, Kentucky. As an ordained United Methodist, He worked in parish and campus ministry for 18 years before turning to full-time seminary teaching. His teaching interests involve giving students a strong theological foundation and practical experience for leading worship and preaching.Dr. Allen's research interests concern broad homiletical interests as well as the connection between preaching and the interpretation of the New Testament. He has published a collection of narrative sermons, Good News from Tinyville: Stories of Heart and Hope; an introductory textbook on exegesis, Interpreting the Synoptic Gospels: Basic Methods for Interpreting Matthew, Mark, and Luke; a homiletical-exegetical resource for pastors, Preaching Resurrection; Most recently, Allen published a book The Homiletic of All Believers: Approach to Proclamation and Preaching, Westminster. Allen is also editing a series of introductory textbooks on preaching for Fortress Press and The Three Dimensions of the Lectionary. with Chalice Press, which offers cumulative strate gies for reading and preaching lectionary texts in congregational worship.