Under the Oak Tree: The Church as Community of Conversation in a Conflicted and Pluralistic World
"Two trends in the early twenty-first-century intersect to give this volume immediate relevance: 1) The emerging postmodern ethos in North America is calling into question many things we have taken for granted, including the purposes of the church; and 2)...
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"Two trends in the early twenty-first-century intersect to give this volume immediate relevance: 1) The emerging postmodern ethos in North America is calling into question many things we have taken for granted, including the purposes of the church; and 2) our time is increasingly fractious as groups with distinct worldviews become polarized and often antagonistic. Eleven noted contributors join a growing current that sees conversation as an image to refresh our thinking about the nature and purpose of the church, and as a process in which individuals and communities with different perspectives come together for real understanding. Under the Oak Tree employs the image of Sarah and Abraham greeting three visitors under the Oaks of Mamre as an image for the church as a community of conversation, a community that opens itself to the otherness of the Bible, voices in history and tradition, others in the contemporary social and ecological worlds. Furthermore, the book shows how conversation can lead the church to action. The book takes a practical approach by exploring how conversation can shape key parts of the church's life. Topics include preaching, worship, formation, evangelism, pastoral care, mission and ecumenism, social witness, and the relationship of Christianity to other religions. Foundational chapters consider God as conversational, the church as community of conversation, and the minister as conversation leader. "
John S. McClure is Charles G. Finney Professor of Homiletics at the Divinity School of Vanderbilt University.
Ronald J. Allen (Ph.D. from Drew University) is Nettie Sweeney and Hugh Th. Miller Professor of Preaching and New Testament at Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis. In addition to over 100 articles and chapters in books Allen is the author of almost thirty books.From 2000-2004, he directed one of the first studies of people who listen to sermons to determine the qualities in preaching that encourage people to pay attention to the sermon and qualities that discourage them from doing so. This project, funded by the Lilly Endowment, is generating four books. Listening to Listeners: Homiletic Case Studies (jointly authored with Dale P. Andrews, L. Susan Bond, John S. McClure, Dan P. Moseley, and G. Lee. Ramsey, Jr.) (2004), Hearing the Sermon: Relationship, Content, Feeling, Believing in Preaching: What Laity Think about Sermons(coauthored with Mary Alice Mulligan, Diane Turner-Sharazz and Dawn Ottoni Wilhelm) and, with Mary Alice Mulligan, Make the Word Come Alive: Lessons from Laity. Other recent books are Wholly Scripture: Preaching Themes from the Bible, along with Preaching is Believing: The Sermon as Theological Reflection , as well as Preaching: An Essential Guide.
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.