Narrative (Theology)

EXAMINATION OF THE USE OF FIRST-PERSON NARRATIVE PREACHING IN THE PUBLIC WORSHIP SERVICE

Author
Brian Olson D.Min.
Abstract
This project set out to examine and evaluate the use of first-person narrative as a possible alternative option to be included in a regular rotation for preaching in a public worship service. It also set out to examine the process of developing the sermon. It also set out to determine if it can be used to effectively communicate the biblical message to a post-Christian, entertainment-oriented culture without compromising its faithfulness to the message of Scripture?

The research was done on the Biblical and theological foundations of preaching to accomplish these goals. An evaluation of current literature on the subject was conducted. A system of evaluating existing sermons was developed and implemented. A sermon was produced and presented in the first-person narrative mode. Survey feedback was received from individuals who were present for the sermon. The surveys from the sermon produced for the project and the earlier evaluated sermons were processed to reach the goals and determine the proper steps for moving forward.

A key understanding derived from the study was that first-person narrative preaching is often mistakenly viewed as lightweight storytelling. The reality is that it is more work than a traditional sermon. It requires that same work for those sermons, but it also requires a heightened understanding of the Biblical story's cultural, sociological, and personal attributes.

Also learned was the importance of story as a means to communicate truth. We teach theology to children through stories, and these same stories can teach the truth to adults. In the west, we have become convinced that science and facts are the most important things and that these are the way to communicate truth. But in much of the world and history, story was the primary means of communicating truth.

A variety of gifts : theological and pedagogical inquiry on the teaching of biblical languages

Author
Dawn Boelkins
Abstract
Using D. Jean Clandinin and F. Michael Connelly's three-dimensional narrative inquiry space as a template, the author reflects theologically and pedagogically upon twenty years' experience with biblical languages at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan. The theological emphases focus upon the theology of the learner, as shaped by the imago Dei of Genesis 1; the theology of the teacher, as embodied in Corinthians 9; and the theology of learning, as envisioned in 1 Corinthians 12.

The pedagogical focus critiques the efficacy of Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences and the practicality of Randall Buth's listening comprehension approach to learning biblical languages. Buth's work builds upon the conclusions of second-language acquisition theorists and teachers Stephen Krashen, James Asher, and Harris Winitz.

The author concludes that the work of both Gardner and Buth must be expanded to serve the theological goals of Western Theological Seminary. Gardner' s multiple intelligences theory can shape both how one learns and what one learns. Buth's emphasis upon fluency delays the shift to the rich rewards of biblical exegesis.

God’s story, our story : a narrative approach for discovery of congregational identity and purpose

Author
Steven E Slagel
Abstract
Many North American Mennonite churches live in a climate of confusion and anxiety struggling to understand who they are and why they exist. This project explores how a congregation’s self-understanding is shaped by stories they tell and live. The context for this project was my ministry leadership in three Mennonite congregations during pastor transitions. I started the project by researching ecclesiological themes of importance to these congregations: sixteenth-century Anabaptism, missional ecclesiology, and narrative theology. I crafted and implemented a process of engagement utilizing these themes allowing congregations to take steps toward discovering identity, purpose, and a hopeful future. I conducted ethnographic research and facilitated congregational interaction with their stories, ecclesiological themes, and the defining narrative of scripture. This resulted in a narrative summary, written identity, and purpose statement for each congregation. The outcome of this narrative approach for ecclesiological understanding is seen in the clear, hope-filled identity and purpose statements developed by these three Mennonite congregations.

Children of God in Prison Exile

Author
Tami F Hooker D.Min.
Abstract
Incarcerated men often feel abandoned by God. Those feelings of abandonment result in their avoiding the church even if they have been raised in it, in religion shopping or choosing their own understanding of and way of relating to the divine over any religion, and in overt religiosity, Implications of this are that the men no longer identify themselves as children of God as defined by the Christian faith. For some, it means they have no relationship with God or with the Church as a whole or the congregation within prison walls. This work takes a look at prison as exile and exile as trauma using the exile and the trauma that resulted from it as described in the Hebrew Scriptures for comparison. The intervention is a Bible study based on narrative theology that inmates from a state prison created and that I facilitated and evaluated in a county jail. The study is titled "Where was God?" It was created so men could hear stories similar to their own and recognize that those telling them are aware that God had been present in their stories and also explore where similar stories had occurred in Scripture. The authors chose ten topics to explore. They were: where was God when I was hurt, felt alone, felt ashamed, was afraid, was pretending, felt invisible, felt un-forgiven and was unforgiving, felt desperate and in despair. It concludes by asking where was God when I felt hope and when I felt love. The hope was that this would help the participants to see their own stories as part of a divine narrative, which would lead them to build a more authentic relationship to God and healthier relationships with others.

Reframing our narratives : using the "Curse of Ham" and the arts to reframe the narrative of inferiority and otherness for African Americans

Author
Freda L. Briggman
Abstract
"The misinterpretation of what became known as the "Curse of Ham" played a formidable role in creating a narrative of inferiority and otherness for African Americans. For centuries, African Americans have been reframing that narrative. This project assists those reframing efforts in demonstrating how the arts can expose the racist usage of the "Curse of Ham." The researcher performs a theological and historical review of the "Curse of Ham" and then uses the data to create and implement a live theater performance. The results suggest that the performance provides a perspective not otherwise known and empowers the community to reframe the narrative." -- Leaf [2].

Preaching Through Grief to Wholeness

Author
Dava Cruise Hensley D.Min.
Abstract
Grief and Loss are ever present in the life of the church. Death, illness, and change are ongoing events in the gathered community. Such loss is often accompanied by grief and at times, unrecognized and therefore, unresolved. This thesis is directed at naming unresolved grief and through intentional preaching which address grief, offers a legitimate and helpful way to address grief and can be the beginning of the process for healing to move through grief to wholeness using preaching as a tool of pastoral care. In this study, a Parish Support Group (PSG) selected from members of the congregation met before and after the preaching moments to evaluate if grief acknowledged from the pulpit allowed the congregation to begin to name grief. Interviews, questionnaires, and narrative stories were used in the evaluation process by the PSG and congregation. The logic method was used as evaluation of the resources needed to work through grief made changes in the community in vital ways. The congregation displayed evidence of movement as the grieving process was addressed being more willing to move beyond the pews and serve more in the neighborhood.

LET THE ANCIENT STORIES LIVE: USING NARRATIVE ANALYSIS AND A CHRIST-CENTERED HERMENEUTIC FOR PREACHING OLD TESTAMENT NARRATIVES

Author
Mark Pluimer D.Min.
Abstract
This project sought to increase the competence of preachers and Bible teachers to preach or teach from Old Testament narratives in a way that is both Christ-centered and faithful to the original intent of the narrative. To achieve this goal, the project explored mainly two key topics: narrative analysis and a Christ-centered hermeneutic. Guided by the principles and tools of narrative analysis, preachers and Bible teachers are able to discern the main message of narratives as originally intended by the biblical author. Guided by the principles and tools of a Christ-centered hermeneutic, preachers and Bible teachers are able to connect the message of narratives to Christ authentically, without distorting or violating the original intent of the narrative. These considerations of narrative analysis and a Christ-centered hermeneutic culminated in a working three-step method for handling Old Testament narratives faithfully in preaching or teaching.

The project implemented the proposed principles by developing a manual, the content of which was taught in a twelve-hour course to a group of preachers and Bible teachers. Pre-course competence was assessed and compared to post-course competence by means of a focus group, surveys, a course evaluation, and written work on assigned Old Testament narrative texts.

The results showed a demonstrable increase in competence among participants. The principles and tools presented in the manual/course were shown to be valuable for helping preachers and Bible teachers to preach or teach from Old Testament narratives in a way that is both Christ-centered and faithful to the original intent of the narrative.

The Role of Storytelling as a Pathway to Healing in Retreat Settings for High School Youth

Author
Julie Michelle Welborn D.Min.
Abstract
The topic of this thesis-project is the role of storytelling as a pathway to healing in retreat settings for high school youth. The thesis to be tested suggests that when personal narratives are coupled with biblical narratives, that a new and healthier narrative can emerge; and, especially to examine more clearly any inherent dangers in storytelling; and to explore what appropriate follow-up needs to be designed in the aftermath of such storytelling. This thesis-project takes in depth look at the role of story, Scripture, and the experiences of storytelling from adults who have facilitated retreats, along with adults who have participated on retreats while in high school.

The effects of preaching a series of expository sermons on the mission of God from 1 Samuel 1-12 on the young adults' perception of their own identity and purpose in life in relation to God's larger story

Author
Hiap Siang Goh
Abstract
Eleven messages were preached employing Christopher Wright's missional hermeneutics grounded on the realities of who God is, God's story, and God's people. A pretest and posttest quantitative survey and well as a phenomenological study conducted at the end of the sermon series showed that the project had indeed influenced the young adults' preception of their identity and purpose.

Developing sermon application from Old Testament narratives

Author
Cyrus Y Ng
Abstract
Developing sermon applications is challenging, because it demands that preachers bridge the immense gap between the ancient text and the modern audience. The task appears even more challenging when preaching Old Testament narratives, because this genre usually does not offer obvious statements from which preachers can formulate applications. What kind of lessons should be drawn from biblical narratives? How does the preacher develop hermeneutically sound and contemporarily relevant applications from this genre? The project centered around two goals: to enhance the congregants' competence in applying OT narratives to their lives; and to improve the quality of sermon applications in the project writer's preaching. The project implemented proposed theories by developing and delivering a sermon series on Genesis 37-50 in the project writer's congregation. A focus group, and evaluative questionnaires were implemented, and revealed a progressive improvement of applications over the course of the preaching series.
Subscribe to Narrative (Theology)