Chicago Theological Seminary

Through the portal: "a picture is worth a thousand words"

Author
Judith I Scott
Abstract
The Evangelical United Church of Christ is located in an insular ethnic German community in the geographic center of the contiguous United States. Members view religion as a subset of a community mutual aid society. Members have expressed a feeling of incompetence regarding their ability to read and/or understand the Bible and have communicated disinterest in learning about God although they espouse Christian values. Therefore the challenge is to find a way of Biblical preaching that will excite this congregation and create a desire to be in relationship with God. The project included preaching the Lectionary Biblical text enhanced by artistic renderings of that text in custom-designed bulletin covers to provide visual reinforcement to the sermon as delivered orally with the goal of eliciting greater interest and meaning relative to knowledge of the living God.

Four golden girls and a preacher walk into a bar...: taking the gospel to the dispossessed

Author
Dawson B Taylor
Abstract
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning (LGBTQ) persons struggle with the need to compartmentalize our lives. With so many insisting that one cannot be gay and Christian, we construct a dividing line between what happens on a Saturday night and who we are in a Church on Sunday morning. I do not believe that this is an issue with which only LGBTQ persons struggle. I believe that most Christians struggle to reconcile the messiness of everyday life and their self-representation in Church. Much of this compartmentalization centers around the tension between what is sacred and what is secular. I seek a homiletic that bridges that gap and allows church and culture to speak plainly to each other.

Preaching as a catalyst for testimony in a post-Mennonite context

Author
Philip E Waite
Abstract
Developing a vocation of testimony is essential to the vitality and future health of Mennonite congregations in post-Mennonite communities. Preaching serves as a necessary catalyst for testimony through interventions in sermons and worship, preaching will nurture the language of testimony within the congregation. This thesis concludes that preaching is a powerful catalyst for testimony.

"Preaching on a detour": heralding the gospel to people with dementia

Author
Gerhard Hille
Abstract
This research explores how preachers can act as a herald for people with dementia in terms of making the meeting with God's speaking real. The biblical prefiguration of the herald's image and the hermeneutical conditions and considerations lead to a homiletical evaluation of preaching strategies and the situation of worship in senior facilities. Three personal sermons exemplify a practice of heralding the gospel by a non-rational approach.

Choosing the way: missional preaching

Author
John A Nelson
Abstract
"Missio," meaning "sending," refers to God's use of God's people to advance God's vision for the world. The author posits that a missional perspective in preaching gives clarity about the challenge of embracing God's alternate reality. He used missional preaching to draw attention to the dangers of the church reflecting the values of dominant culture, and to invite listeners to choose the singular narrative and the alternative way of being communicated through the gospel of Jesus Christ. As pastor of a moderate to progressive congregation, he examined the difference between "certainty" and "fidelity" as a basic orientation to Christian faith.

Preaching the experience of hope: from lament to celebration

Author
Kristopher Scott Hewitt
Abstract
We live in an age that thirsts for good news, but without lament there is only shallow praise. Preaching a lament opens listeners to deal with the real issues that burden them. This thesis proposes specifically the reclaiming of the psalms of lament in preaching following the homiletic design for celebration of Frank Thomas. With this integration the preacher is both the leader of lament and celebrant of God's presence. Through personal experience, along with feedback from the congregation, I have found that the movement from lament to celebration enables an authentic encounter with God, our source of hope.

Preaching the aloha spirit roundtable: notion of cultural compatibility in homiletics

Author
Gwendolyn Kehaunani Hill
Abstract
This qualitative research study reflects the challenges a preacher confronts when called to celebrate a newly formed pan-Pacific community of diversity at the roundtable by illumining the biblical faith of the "aloha spirit" - extravagant hospitality and inclusivity. Linking the notion of cultural compatibility from educational theory to homiletical theory, the thesis proposes three significant strategies that help a pastor preach in ways that ensure the sermon is attuned to the local culture of the community of diversity that gathers at the roundtable: a) preacher elevates core images of the "aloha spirit" b)preacher develops "talk-story" conversations of the local culture and c) preacher hails the "sense of place" at the roundtable.

Transformative preaching: preaching with embedded ritualization

Author
David M Palmer
Abstract
This thesis introduces a new homiletical method intended to move the sermon from exclusively words that are formative into a transformative experience of God. Drawing upon ritual theory and the work of Augusto Boal and his Theatre of the Oppressed, the author has presented sermons incorporating embedded ritualization inviting people to a transformative experience of God. Feedback to these sermons was solicited in order to measure the effectiveness of the embedded ritualization in opening the listeners to an experience of God. The thesis posits this homiletical method is an effective means of communicating the gospel for our postmodern world.

The largest table effect: preaching to cultivate compassion, justice, and inclusion in the urban church

Author
Kathryn Nystrand Dwyer
Abstract
This research explores how preachers can help listeners create a new productive reality, so that they are able to reflect upon it and act with compassion, justice, and inclusion. An urban congregation participated in a two-year study to change its understanding and experience of communion from being individual-centered to being community-centered. Results indicate that, over time, this effort may lead to a change in the congregational mythos and identity. The implications for this study are pertinent for all preachers, especially those who serve urban congregations.

Electric (boulevard) preaching: practicing your faith on the street where you live

Author
Kelly B Brill
Abstract
Preaching can help worshipers to connect their faith, their theological convictions, and their biblical values, with the issues of their daily lives -- such as parenting, maintaining healthy relationships, and juggling work and family. Preaching, and other programming within the congregation which directly addresses these concerns of everyday life, can help the mainline Protestant church to grow and thrive. It is challenging to preach sermons which are relevant and helpful while at the same time theologically deep and open-ended, but that challenge is crucial to the survival of the mainline Protestant tradition.
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