Quarterly Review

A JOURNAL O F T H E O L O G I C A L RESOURCES F O R MINISTRY

QUARTERLY REVIEW EDITORIAL BOARD
T E D A. C A M P B E L L Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminar)', Evanston, II_ MINERVA G. C A R C A N O Metropolitan District, Portland, OR PATRICIA FARRIS First United Methodist Church, Santa Monica. CA G R A N T IIAGIYA Los Angeles District Office, Los Angeles. CA JEROME KING D E L P I N O , C H A I R General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, The United Methodist Church, Nashville. T N MARY A N N M O M A N General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, The United Methodist Church, Nashville, T N T H O M A S W. OGLETREE The Divinity School, Yale University, N e w Haven, CT HARRIETT JANE O L S O N The United Methodist Publishing House, Nashville, T N RUSSELL E. R I C H E Y Candler School of Theology, Atlanta, GA L I N D A E. T H O M A S Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, Chicago, IL TRACI C. W E S T The Theological School. Drew University, Madison, N] DAVID K. Y E M B A Faculty of Theology, Africa University, Mutare, Zimbabwe

Quarterly Review
, A JOURNAL OF THEOLOGICAL RESOURCES FOR MINISTRY
Volume 24, N u m b e r 3 Fall 2004

A Publication of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and The United Methodist Publishing House

Quarterly R e v i e w (ISSN 0270-9287) provides continuing education resources for scholars, Christian educators, and lay and professional ministers in The United Methodist Church and other churches. Q R intends to be a forum in which theological issues of significance to Christian ministry can be raised and debated. Editorial Offices: 1001 19th Avenue, South, P.O. Box 340007, Nashville, T N 37203-0007. Manuscripts should be in English and typed double-spaced, including notes. Q R is published four times a year, in March, June, September, and December, by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church and The United Methodist Publishing House. Periodicals postage paid at Nashville, Tennessee. Subscription rate: $24 for one yean $44 for two years; and $60 for three years. Students: $16 for one year; $30 for two years. For all subscription orders, single-copy orders, and change-of-address information, contact Cokesbury toll-free (800) 672-1789, M - F 7:00 A.M.-6:30 P.M. CST and Saturday 8:00 A.M.-4:00 P.M. CST. Inquiries may also be sent in writing to the Cokesbury Subscription Services, P.O. Box 801, Nashville, TN 37202-0801. Postmaster: Address changes should be sent to The United Methodist Publishing House, P.O. Box 801, Nashville, T N 37202-0801. Q R is printed on acid-free paper. Lections are taken from Revised Common Lectionary {Nashville: Abingdon, 1992). Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New Revised Standard Version Common Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, and are used by permission. Quarterly Review Fall 2004 Editor: Hendrik R. Pieterse Email: hpietersetffgbhero.org Website: http://www.quarterlyreview.org Copyright © 2004 by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and The United Methodist Publishing House

Volume 24, N u m b e r 3

Fall 2004

Editorial
Preaching for a N e w Time ISSUE THEME: 225

Preaching for the Twenty-First Century
Challenging United M e t h o d i s t Preachers Tyrone D. Gordon Adam Hamilton Preaching Paul L Susan Bond Preaching Theology John S. McClure Preaching amidst Different Cultures Aida Irizarry-Fernandez 262 249 .., ,227 ,231 236

Preaching That C o n n e c t s for t h e Twenty-First-Century Hearer: A n African Perspective Eben K, Nhiwatiwa 272

Outside the Theme
"I Permit N o t a W o m a n to Teach"; W o m e n ' s Roles as a Test Case for Biblical A u t h o r i t y Ralph K. Hawkins R e s p o n s e to Ralph K. H a w k i n s Tex Sample Rejoinder to Tex Sample Ralph K. Hawkins 303 300 289

The Church in Review
T h e M e a n i n g of U n i t e d M e t h o d i s t R e l a t e d n e s s William B. Lawrence Ted Brown 306 306

A Word o n The Word
Lectionary Study James W. Moore I s s u e s In: C o n t i n u i n g Theological E d u c a t i o n for C l e r g y w o m e n Beth Luton Cook 320 313

Book Reviews
Methodist and Radical: Rejuvenating a Tradition, ed. by Joerg Rieger a n d J o h n J. Vincent (Nashville: Kingswood, 2003) Reviewer: N a o m i A n n a n d a l e An Examined Faith: The Grace of Self-Doubt, by J a m e s M. G u s t a f s o n (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2004) Reviewer: Mark E m e r y Reynolds 328 325

Preaching for a New Time
e g i n n i n g with J o h n Wesley's controversial decision to e m p l o y lay p r e a c h e r s in t h e q u e s t t o "reform t h e nation, particularly t h e Church; a n d to spread scriptural holiness over t h e land," proclaiming t h e gospel has b e e n central to t h e self-understanding a n d practice of M e t h o d i s t s . For Methodists, including United M e t h o d i s t s , s u c h p r o c l a m a t i o n finds multifaceted e m b o d i m e n t in t h e church t h r o u g h faithful individual a n d corpo­ rate practice of t h e "means of grace." A n d yet, preaching t h e g o o d n e w s r e m a i n s a p r e e m i n e n t a n d sacred obligation in t h e w o r s h i p life of U n i t e d M e t h o d i s t s . Given this centrality of preaching, we t h o u g h t it w o r t h w h i l e to devote a n issue to p o n d e r i n g t h e question: W h a t d o e s faithful p r e a c h i n g look like in t h e twenty-first century? Thus, t h e t h e m e for this time a r o u n d : "Preaching for t h e Twenty-First Century." T h e preposition for in t h e t h e m e tags t w o motifs t h a t find r e s o n a n c e in all five t h e m e articles in this volume. (1) Preaching is forever historically, culturally, a n d linguistically situated; it is always for a particular t i m e a n d place. (2) Flowing from t h e contextual n a t u r e of p r o c l a m a t i o n is t h e a w e s o m e responsibility of discerning t h e "signs of t h e times" in s u c h a way t h a t t h e p r e a c h e d w o r d for a particular time a n d place is also suited for that time a n d place; t h e Word proclaimed m u s t b e embodied—incarnated—in a c o n c r e t e situation t o b e heard a n d received as g o o d news. These two motifs are t a k e n u p in different ways a n d at a variety of levels by t h e a u t h o r s in this issue. In reflecting o n t h e greatest challenge facing United M e t h o d i s t preachers in t h e n e w century, n o t e d preachers Tyrone G o r d o n a n d A d a m H a m i l t o n b o t h single o u t t h e intellectual, pastoral, a n d theological integrity of t h e preacher as t h e key concern, For G o r d o n , preaching w i t h a relevance that p e r s u a d e s flows from pastoral leadership that is prophetic and countercultural. Of t h e myriad roles characterizing pastoral leadership t o d a y claims Hamilton, t h e o p p o r t u n i t y to preach thoughtful, substantive, a n d compelling s e r m o n s is central. Preparing

B

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s e r m o n s of this caliber takes t i m e - a n d lots of it. Thus, in o u r time-starved culture, establishing a n d guarding a d e q u a t e time for s e r m o n preparation is t h e greatest challenge facing preachers in o u r day. In different ways, b o t h Aida Irizarry-Fernandez a n d E b e n Nhiwatiwa reflect o n t h e vexing q u e s t i o n of w h a t constitutes effective a n d persuasive preaching in a world characterized by a dizzying plurality of cultures a n d languages. For Irizarry-Fernandez, a u t h e n t i c p r e a c h i n g in a multicultural context exists in t h e n e c e s s a r y t e n s i o n b e t w e e n t h e plurality of cultures a n d t h e Word t h a t t r a n s c e n d s a n d so transforms all cultures. G u i d e d by t h e theological principles of hospitality, mutuality, a n d h o p e , preaching a m i d s t different cultures b e c o m e s a "dance" w i t h t h e Word t h a t celebrates t h e diversity of gifts in t h e u n i t y of t h e Spirit. Nhiwatiwa provides a marvelous exposition of t h e theological, homiletical, and exegetical principles a n d practices n e e d e d for any preaching that aims to c o n n e c t with t h e h o p e s a n d struggles of twenty-first-century hearers. Throughout, a n d in a conversation that yields rich insight, Nhiwatiwa dialogues w i t h t h e Western homiletical tradition in light of t h e theology and practice of preaching o n t h e African continent. Susan B o n d invites p r e a c h e r s w h o have a b a n d o n e d t h e Pauline c o r p u s as a source of p r e a c h i n g to reconsider. Accusations t h a t Paul is a d e f e n d e r of t h e s t a t u s q u o a n d a sexist, even a racist, in n o small way rest o n a history of interpretive b l u n d e r s p r o m p t e d by highly contextual, often seri­ ously misguided, theological interests. However, says Bond, d e v e l o p m e n t s in recent Pauline scholarship o p e n u p exciting possibilities for p r e a c h i n g Paul in a way t h a t offers a truly p r o p h e t i c w o r d for o u r day. How, asks J o h n McClure, c a n p r e a c h e r s "claim theology in t h e pulpit" so t h a t preaching m a y b e c o m e "a pivotal s o u n d i n g board" for t h e theolog­ ical conversations t h a t are h a p p e n i n g in a n d b e y o n d t h e congregation? U s i n g semiotic a n d dialogic models, M c C l u r e offers a m o d e of "practical theological thinking" t h a t allows p r e a c h e r a n d c o n g r e g a t i o n to u n d e r s t a n d a n d articulate their respective "operative theologies" in o r d e r t o e m b e d preaching in t h e rich textures of t h e congregation's discourse a b o u t G o d . This b e c o m e s t h e c o n t e x t for w h a t is arguably t h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t aspect of preaching theology: a s e n s e of p r e a c h i n g as a living theological vocation.

Hendrik R. Pieterse is the editor of Q u a r t e r l y Review.

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Issue Theme

Preaching for the Twenty-First

Century

Challenging United Methodist Preachers
/ recently asked two outstanding United Methodist preachers to reflect on this ques­ tion: W h a t is t h e g r e a t e s t c h a l l e n g e facing U n i t e d M e t h o d i s t p r e a c h e r s i n t h e twenty-first c e n t u r y ? Here are their responses, TYRONE D. GORDON -Editor

T

he United Methodist Church is facing s o m e challenging times in this n e w c e n t u r y O u r declining membership, dwindling financial resources, divi­ sive theological issues, and t h e like are causing m a n y m e m b e r s to w r i n g their hands, take sides, or throw in t h e flag of surrender as if we were people w h o have n o hope. However, t h e United Methodist preacher cannot s u c c u m b to this s o m b e r m o o d o r a d o p t this pessimistic spirit. H e o r she m u s t face t h e s e challenges with faith, authority, and optimism. I o n c e heard an old preacher say, "If G o d can raise Jesus from the dead, t h e n G o d can d o anything!" This includes G o d giving t h e preacher whatever she or h e n e e d s in order to face these n e w and difficult challenges before b o t h society and church. T h e preacher has a vital role to play in leading t h e church t h r o u g h t h e s e challenges. T h e apostle Paul writes, How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good newsl" (Rom. 10:14-15, NIV). These words lay o u t t h e i m p o r t a n c e of t h e call u p o n t h e preacher's life a n d h o w valuable h e r or his ministry is in today's culture a n d time. T h e

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p r e a c h e r m u s t believe w i t h d e e p conviction t h a t h e r or his call is from G o d a n d t h a t s h e or h e is a n a m b a s s a d o r of t h e gospel of Jesus C h r i s t This in a n d of itself helps p u t into perspective t h e challenges a n d obstacles facing t h o s e in t h e p r e a c h i n g ministry of T h e U n i t e d M e t h o d i s t C h u r c h . The preacher has a n a w e s o m e task balancing being priest, prophet, teacher, a n d leader in a rapidly changing world a n d social climate. T h e n e w c e n t u r y has t h r u s t u p o n t h e preacher a n d t h e church changes unimaginable just a few years ago. S e p t e m b e r 11, a n a t i o n at war, terrorism, a politically polarized nation, the d e b a t e over homosexuality, poverty, racism, sexism— t h e s e issues a n d m o r e have influenced a n d / o r inflamed t h e outlook of o u r society, o u r culture, a n d o u r world. In m a n y respects, t h e s e issues have changed t h e way w e d o ministry a n d m e e t t h e n e e d s of o u r communities. T h e s e challenges cannot—indeed, should not—be a d d r e s s e d in a vacuum. T h e church m u s t b e t h e spiritual a n d moral leader of t h e world a n d t h e society. It m u s t b e o n t h e forefront, at t h e cutting edge, w i t h an under­ s t a n d i n g a n d proclamation of t h e gospel t h a t address t h e issues that face p e o p l e a n d o u r society every day. In spite of t h e s e changing times, I r e m a i n p e r s u a d e d t h a t p e o p l e are still seeking t h e right answers a n d are still asking t h e question: "Is there any word from t h e Lord?" With this in mind, I a m r e m i n d e d of a verse from a well-known gospel h y m n often s u n g in t h e African-American church: "Ohf T h e world is h u n g r y for t h e living bread / Lift the savior u p for t h e m t o see; / Trust H i m a n d d o n o t d o u b t the w o r d t h a t h e said, Til draw folk u n t o me. "
1 1

A great challenge facing U n i t e d M e t h o d i s t p r e a c h e r s in this n e w c e n t u r y is a maintenance mentality, so pervasive in m a n y of o u r congrega­ tions. O u r d e n o m i n a t i o n s e e m s to b e in a m a i n t e n a n c e m o d e , which is a sign of desperation—and d e s p e r a t i o n causes us to d o d e s p e r a t e things in o r d e r to survive! We have a great future a h e a d of us. G o d b e c k o n s t h e church from t h a t future to join h a n d s w i t h G o d a n d b e a p a r t of w h a t G o d is already blessing in o u r c o m m u n i t i e s , o u r nation, a n d o u r world. G o d is calling us forward; b u t t h e "Back t o Egypt C o m m i t t e e " t h a t has such a strong hold in m a n y of o u r congregations is pulling t h e c h u r c h in t h e o p p o ­ site direction. T h e challenge for t h e p r e a c h e r is to see w h e r e G o d is leading a n d to interpret a n d lead t h e congregation t h r o u g h t h e wilderness to t h e p r o m i s e d land of t h e k i n g d o m of G o d as it is lived h e r e o n earth. H o w d o we move congregations from a n old m o d e l of ministry to a m o d e l t h a t reaches a n e w generation a n d addresses t h e issues of this day

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and age? T h e question we o u g h t to b e asking ourselves is this: H o w d o we proclaim t h e "old, old story" in ways that are relevant to o u r culture? There is n o t h i n g w r o n g with w h a t was. But our credibility will continue to b e called into question if we d o n o t present t h e gospel in today's t e r m s for today's times. Leading t h e church t h r o u g h change, w h e n so m a n y are comfortable with w h e r e we already are, is an uphill battle for m o s t preachers in t h e United Methodist tradition. Shifting persons from an old paradigm of doing church into a n e w paradigm is a challenge for t h e twenty-first-century preacher. H e or she m u s t learn to integrate s h e p h e r d i n g (handholding, coun­ seling, encouraging, and t h e like) with t h e prophetic aspect of leadership, which challenges t h e church, t h e individual, and, ultimately, society, to partic­ ipate in G o d ' s plan of salvation, liberation, and redemption. In African American Church Growth, Carlyle Fielding Stewart III defines this kind of p r o p h e t i c leadership as [t]he process of calling the people of God into an awareness of God's saving, liberating and redemptive acts so as to compel the radical participation of indi­ viduals and communities in spiritual, social and personal transformation. The result of that transformation will be the realization of human wholeness and potential in the present, as well as in the future.
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In light of t h e c u r r e n t "maintenance" m i n d s e t in m a n y of o u r churches, t h e challenge for t h e U n i t e d M e t h o d i s t p r e a c h e r is t o strive for this kind of leadership so that t h e c h u r c h c a n b e faithful to a holistic gospel a n d a holistic u n d e r s t a n d i n g of salvation. T h e U n i t e d M e t h o d i s t p r e a c h e r m u s t develop a n e w style of leadership for this n e w century—a style t h a t will ultimately call t h e p r e a c h e r t o see h e r or his role in line w i t h t h e p r o p h e t i c leadership of t h e Old T e s t a m e n t p r o p h e t s a n d of Jesus Christ. T h e preacher's challenge is to c o m b a t t h e pervasive self-centeredness, selfishness, a n d t h e "what-can-God-do-for-me?" attitude. Instead, h e or she should e n c o u r a g e an a t t i t u d e t h a t asks w h a t great things we can d o for G o d and G o d ' s k i n g d o m ! T h e challenge is to h e l p p e r s o n s u n d e r s t a n d o n c e m o r e t h e m e a n i n g of sacrifice, self-denial, self-giving, a n d of being t h e voice of justice for t h e dispossessed, t h e oppressed, and t h e m o s t vulnerable in society. We m u s t call into q u e s t i o n individualistic views of salvation t h a t ignore t h e gospel's social, economic, a n d political implications. O u r u n d e r s t a n d i n g

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of salvation has b e c o m e so individualistic t h a t w e have forgotten t h a t G o d loves the world a n d n o t just t h e individual! O u r challenge is t o proclaim a gospel t h a t c o u n t e r s t h e c o n s u m e r i s m t h a t has infiltrated b o t h church a n d society. R a t h e r t h a n influencing society, t h e c h u r c h is allowing society's u n g o d l y influence t o distort t h e m e s s a g e it preaches. T h e "gospel" of success, prosperity, a n d who-has-the-biggest has invaded t h e church. Preachers n e e d t o call their c h u r c h e s back to faithfulness to t h e gospel a n d m a k e clear t h e distinction b e t w e e n "success" as defined by t h e world a n d success as defined by G o d . We n e e d t o e x p o s e this m i s g u i d e d t h e o l o g y a n d call t h e c h u r c h b a c k to a faithful p r o c l a m a t i o n of t h e total gospel. These challenges facing t h e U n i t e d M e t h o d i s t preacher can a n d must b e confronted. Preachers are called n o t to w i n a popularity contest b u t to believe t h e Word, to proclaim it, a n d to m o d e l it. Jeremiah Wright, Senior Pastor of t h e Trinity C h u r c h of Christ in Chicago, told m y church in Dallas, "So m a n y clergy m e m b e r s don't w a n t t o speak a p r o p h e t i c word W h o is going to call into q u e s t i o n w h a t politicians are doing if it is n o t t h e clergy?" Wright's s u m m o n s requires of t h e preacher to have an o p e n m i n d in order t o experience a n d h e a r G o d ' s voice n o t only in t h e Scriptures b u t also in t h e events of society a n d t h e world. This is n o easy task, b u t it is a challenge t h a t w e can u n d e r t a k e . G o d calls us t o it a n d G o d will e m p o w e r u s to d o it! The n e w c e n t u r y brings w i t h it a n e w set of issues, challenges, a n d p r o b ­ lems for t h e United M e t h o d i s t preacher. A n d t h e times a h e a d harbor m a n y m o r e challenges. However, t h e s e challenges c a n b e tackled because t h e Spirit of t h e Lord is u p o n us t o preach, proclaim, deliver, and recover. We can speak a word of salvation a n d liberation! We can utter a w o r d of transfor­ m a t i o n a n d justice! We can proclaim a w o r d of release a n d peace! As it is written, "How beautiful are t h e feet of t h o s e w h o bring g o o d news!"

Tyrone D. Gordon is Senior Pastor at St. Luke "Community" United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas.

Endnotes
1. B.B. Beals and Johnson Oatman, Jr., "Lift Him Up," Songs of Zion (Nashville: Abingdon, 1981), #59. 2. Carlyle Fielding Stewart III, African American Church Growth: 12 Principles for Prophetic Ministry (Nashville: Abingdon, 1994), 22.

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ADAM

HAMILTON

will e n d this essay by r e s p o n d i n g w i t h a one-word answer to t h e ques­ tion t h e editor has posed, Before s h a r i n g t h a t word, I offer a few observa­ tions a b o u t t h e role of p r e a c h i n g and p r e a c h e r s in t h e twenty-first century. For t h e average churchgoing adult in a United M e t h o d i s t congregation, preaching is the p r i m a r y faith-shaping event. Adult S u n d a y school is impor­ tant, b u t often plays a greater role in offering c o m m u n i t y a n d Christian fellowship t h a n discipleship. Disciple Bible Study has b e e n a t r e m e n d o u s l y i m p o r t a n t tool for o u r churches; b u t fewer t h a n 11 p e r c e n t of United M e t h o d i s t s have t a k e n t h e course. O n e - o n - o n e m e n t o r i n g w i t h a pastor can play a key role in an individual's faith development, b u t only a very small percentage of our m e m b e r s will b e able to d o this with their pastor. For a large n u m b e r of o u r m e m b e r s , t h e o n e thing t h e y will regularly participate in to grow in their faith is Sunday m o r n i n g worship. Within t h e context of Sunday worship t h e o n e e l e m e n t that offers t h e greatest o p p o r t u n i t y for discipleship and faith d e v e l o p m e n t is t h e s e r m o n . With this in mind, let us briefly consider t h e role of preaching and preachers today. Today, preachers play a host of roles for their congregations. We m u s t act as teachers a n d theologians for o u r flock, recognizing t h a t for m o s t adults o u r s e r m o n s will b e t h e o n e o p p o r t u n i t y t h e y have to h e a r from a theologically trained leader o n a weekly basis. M a n y Christians t o d a y suffer from preaching t h a t fails to teach t h e m theological or biblical t r u t h . M a n y of o u r p e o p l e k n o w very little a b o u t t h e Scripture or a b o u t their faith. Recently I was sitting next to a m a n o n a n airplane w h o saw m e read m y Bible. (I was working o n an u p c o m i n g sermon.) As w e spoke, h e said that h e was a lifelong Christian. H e inquired a b o u t t h e topic for m y s e r m o n a n d I told h i m I was preaching o n t h e Bible itself—how it c a m e t o be. H e p r o c e e d e d to offer his insights o n t h e topic, expressing gratitude t h a t so m u c h of t h e Bible w a s inscribed o n s t o n e tablets by GodI His c o m m e n t s r e m i n d e d m e of t h e kinds of things I have h e a r d lifelong United Methodists say—which u n d e r l i n e s t h e i m p o r t a n c e of p r e a c h i n g t h a t teaches a n d instructs p e o p l e o n t h e essentials of t h e faith a n d t h e Scriptures. If o u r p e o p l e are going to learn a b o u t t h e Bible or a b o u t Christian theology, it will likely b e from their pastors. In addition, in today's post-Christian culture our m e m b e r s find their faith challenged daily, o n t h e o n e hand, by t h e voices of skeptics hostile to

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t h e faith and, o n t h e other hand, by t h e teachings of fundamentalist Christians. They are challenged by life in an increasingly pluralistic world, w o n d e r i n g w h y o n e should b e a Christian rather t h a n a H i n d u or a Muslim or a Buddhist. A n d t h e y regularly find their faith challenged by life itself, particularly by t h e perennial problem of h o w to reconcile their faith in a g o o d and loving G o d w i t h a world in which tragedies h a p p e n routinely. As pastors we play a key role in helping o u r congregants u n d e r s t a n d the faith a n d why t h e y should continue to b e Christians. We will b e for our congrega­ tions their m o s t i m p o r t a n t apologists, r e m i n d i n g t h e m weekly why Christianity is credible and compelling. In addition, if w e take seriously t h e task of reaching o u t to t h e 50 percent of t h e population that are nonreligious or nominally religious, we will act n o t only as apologists b u t also as evange­ lists—helping our listeners discover t h e power of t h e gospel for their lives. These roles alone dictate a v e r y serious a p p r o a c h to preaching—one t h a t flies in t h e face of m u c h of w h a t w e have b e e n t a u g h t a b o u t homiletics in t h e past few d e c a d e s in mainline seminaries. O v e r t h e past thirty to forty years, p r e a c h i n g in m a n y U n i t e d M e t h o d i s t c h u r c h e s has b e c o m e s h o r t e r a n d m o r e devotional in nature. There is little in t h e way of teaching a n d often less in t h e way of real s u b s t a n c e . This is easy to u n d e r s t a n d in t h e light of t h e s h o r t e n e d time allotted for s e r m o n s in o u r w o r s h i p services. While Wesley's s e r m o n s s e e m to have b e e n thirty m i n u t e s o r m o r e , today t h e t e n d e n c y is toward s e r m o n s less t h a n half of that time. Several years ago, o n e U n i t e d M e t h o d i s t s e m i n a r y professor told his class, "If you can't say it in fifteen m i n u t e s , it's n o t w o r t h saying." I found this c o m m e n t interesting c o n s i d e r i n g this s a m e professor required fifty m i n u t e s t h r e e times a w e e k to teach his s t u d e n t s h o w to preachl But if preaching is really just a s h o r t d e v o t i o n o n a biblical text, t h e n p e r h a p s fifteen m i n u t e s is m o r e t h a n e n o u g h time. Recently, a mainline pastor in m y c o m m u n i t y a n n o u n c e d to his congregation t h a t h e would never preach s e r m o n s longer t h a n seven m i n u t e s ! If w e take seriously o u r role as teacher, apologist, a n d evangelist, t h e n is it really possible to fulfill t h a t role a d e q u a t e l y in just fifteen m i n u t e s p e r week? Before answering, let us c o n s i d e r several o t h e r roles today's preachers m u s t fulfill. In addition t o b e i n g teachers, apologists, a n d evangelists, today's p r e a c h e r s are called u p o n to b e therapists, s h e p h e r d s , a n d pastors as well. Sitting in y o u r congregation this w e e k e n d will likely b e at least o n e p e r s o n

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w h o c o n t e m p l a t e d suicide this week. S o m e w h e r e in your congregation will b e a n u m b e r of couples w h o s e marriages are falling apart. According to o n e statistician, 16 p e r c e n t of t h e U.S. p o p u l a t i o n suffers from anxiety a n d p a n i c disorders—that is o n e in every six p e o p l e sitting in y o u r congrega­ tion. A startling n u m b e r of p e o p l e struggle w i t h addictions of o n e kind or another. In any given w e e k s o m e o n e is r e m e m b e r i n g t h e loss of a loved o n e or c o n t e m p l a t i n g s o m e tragedy in their n e t w o r k of friends. These p e r s o n s c o m e to church looking for h o p e a n d h e l p in c o p i n g w i t h life. They w a n t to k n o w if t h e Bible a n d Christian faith c a n actually h e l p t h e m . They n e e d m o r e t h a n a devotional message; a n d it is likely t h a t c o m i n g to w o r s h i p will be their only place to t u r n . M o s t will n o t seek t h e r a p y or schedule an a p p o i n t m e n t w i t h you for pastoral care. Of course, t h e preacher's role today is e v e n b r o a d e r t h a n t e a c h i n g and healing. We are also called u p o n to "equip t h e saints for t h e w o r k of ministry" (Eph. 4:12). This m e a n s t h a t we are providing t h e training, t h e challenging, and t h e tools essential for o u r congregants to live o u t their faith as salt and light, b o t h in t h e church a n d in t h e world. I o n c e w o r k e d for a c o m p a n y t h a t gave their employees virtually n o training before deploying them—with disastrous results. M o s t employees w e r e ineffective at their w o r k and u n s u r e of themselves, b e c a u s e t h e y weren't properly trained. Often, as we s e n d t h e c o n g r e g a t i o n into t h e mission field of life each S u n d a y following t h e benediction, t h e c h u r c h d o e s little better, O u r role m u s t include preparing, training, a n d inspiring p e o p l e effectively t o live their faith in t h e world. O n e c o m p o n e n t of this is teaching p e o p l e h o w to d o Christian ethics. O u r task is not simply to spoon-feed o u r congregants t h e answers t o complex societal a n d p e r s o n a l ethical p r o b l e m s . As pastors w e often have failed adequately to teach o u r p e o p l e h o w to apply t h e biblical witness a n d t h e church's tradition, reason, a n d e x p e r i e n c e to serious p e r s o n a l a n d soci­ etal issues. Having p r e a c h e d o n t h e s e issues a n d having s o u g h t to t e a c h a n d m o d e l for m y congregation h o w to d o this, I have e x p e r i e n c e d t h e challenge a n d joy of d o i n g this in t h e context of a s e r m o n . It is critical that t h e c h u r c h speak to t h e s e issues and help o u r c o n g r e g a n t s t h i n k biblically and theologically a b o u t t h e m , There are a h o s t of o t h e r roles we play as preachers, b u t I will m e n t i o n only o n e more. If w e are t h e preaching pastor we are also likely t h e senior pastor of o u r congregation. We are t h e pastor assigned t o lead this particular

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charge. As such we are t h e senior executive of t h e church. We may n o t like t h e use of business t e r m s to describe o u r work, b u t we c a n n o t afford to miss t h e p o i n t t h a t every organization requires a leader a n d that leaders are called u p o n to lead. J o h n Kotter, retired professor of leadership at Harvard Business School, s u m m a r i z e d t h e t h r e e key tasks of a leader as (1) casting vision; (2) aligning t h e resources to accomplish t h e vision; a n d (3) moti­ vating a n d inspiring p e o p l e to d o whatever is necessary to accomplish t h e vision. Pastors d o this in a variety of ways, b u t there is n o greater o p p o r t u ­ nity for offering this kind of leadership t h a n preaching. Clearly, we have got o u r work cut o u t for us as preachers. I a m convinced that we c a n n o t d o this work effectively by treating our s e r m o n s as devotionals. We c a n n o t offer a bit of exegesis, a n interesting interpretation of t h e text, and a handful of stories and feel we have accomplished this work. Some preachers m a y succeed in this, b u t I cannot effectively "invite, form, and send" Christian disciples or act responsibly as teacher, apologist, evangelist, shepherd, equipper, a n d leader by preaching fifteen-minute devotional messages each week. There are a h o s t of c h u r c h e s in t h e U n i t e d States t o d a y w h e r e p e o p l e c a n find shallow, superficial, a n d irrelevant s e r m o n s offering little m o r e t h a n platitudes a n d stories. Often t h o s e c h u r c h e s w h e r e pastors are taking seriously t h e roles of p r e a c h e r d e s c r i b e d above are conservative or funda­ mentalist churches. I a m convinced t h a t t h e world n e e d s U n i t e d M e t h o d i s t preachers w h o offer s e r m o n s from a Wesleyan theological p e r s p e c t i v e s e r m o n s t h a t teach, inspire, equip, a n d heal; t h a t are thoughtfully a n d care­ fully prepared; t h a t are substantive; t h a t m a k e a compelling case for t h e Christian faith; t h a t actually help p e o p l e live t h a t faith; a n d t h a t p r e p a r e Christian disciples w h o will s h a p e their culture a n d c o m m u n i t i e s . This picture of p r e a c h i n g a n d of t h e role of t h e p r e a c h e r is n o t n e w to Methodism—it is p a r t of o u r heritage. Preaching, coupled w i t h small g r o u p ministry, defined early M e t h o d i s m . We w e r e a m o v e m e n t led by lay a n d clergy p r e a c h e r s w h o took seriously t h e role a n d responsibility of p r e a c h i n g a n d w h o believed t h a t p r e a c h i n g could c h a n g e t h e world! W h e n this kind of p r e a c h i n g is offered, people's lives a n d c o m m u n i t i e s are changed, c h u r c h e s b e c o m e healthy, vital, a n d alive; a n d p e o p l e will drive for miles to h e a r it. But h e r e is t h e caveat: This kind of preaching requires a t r e m e n d o u s i n v e s t m e n t of time o n behalf of t h e preacher. It requires time in advance

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planning—retreats two or t h r e e times a year—to pray, read, study, a n d reflect u p o n t h e c o n n e c t i o n b e t w e e n Scripture a n d t h e n e e d s , o p p o r t u n i t i e s , and challenges in a given c o m m u n i t y of faith. It calls for time in study, reading, reflection, research, exegesis and, m o s t important, prayer o n a weekly basis, It d e m a n d s time in writing a n d rewriting s e r m o n s , as well as in rehearsing t h e m to e m p t y p e w s so t h a t t h e Word is p r e a c h e d with effectiveness a n d conviction. Better a n d wiser preachers t h a n I m a y n e e d less time, b u t for m o s t of us twelve to fifteen h o u r s will be a m i n i m u m . M o r e complex s e r m o n s m a y require as m u c h as twenty h o u r s . Forty p e r c e n t of a fiftyh o u r work week might reasonably b e devoted to t h e o n e t h i n g t h a t has t h e greatest potential to affect t h e greatest n u m b e r of p e o p l e in o u r c o m m u ­ nity: o u r preaching. All of this brings m e to t h e answer to t h e question p o s e d by t h e editor of this journal: What is t h e greatest challenge facing United Methodist preachers in the n e w century? The greatest challenge is time. A n d t h e answer, w h e t h e r w e serve a small, rural church; a mid-sized, u r b a n church; or a large, s u b u r b a n church, is protecting our preparation time, I c a n n o t p r e s u m e to k n o w w h a t this involves for other preachers. But I k n o w of m a n y pastors w h o have taken their preaching to a n e w level by deploying laity in doing ministry o n certain days to e n s u r e adequate preparation time; by helping their congrega­ tion u n d e r s t a n d t h e value of adequate preparation time for preaching; and b y personally managing their calendars a n d forcing themselves t o take t h e time n e e d e d to develop s e r m o n s that fulfill their calling. Preaching is t h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t t h i n g w e d o in shaping t h e faith of an entire c o m m u n i t y of people. It is in this act t h a t G o d ' s Spirit w o r k s t o c o n n e c t t h e Scriptures a n d G o d ' s w o r d to t h e lives of t h e people. Effective preaching will teach, convince, encourage, heal, challenge, equip, a n d lead hearers t o a life of faith as n o t h i n g else can. But this kind of p r e a c h i n g c a n n o t h a p p e n unless we, as preachers, will devote a d e q u a t e time to o u r s e r m o n preparation. Adam Hamilton is Senior Pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. He is the author 0/Unleashing t h e Word: Preaching with Relevance, Purpose, a n d Passion (Abingdon, 2003).

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P

oor Paul. H e has b e e n t h e w h i p p i n g b o y of feminists, social activists, and p e r s o n s of color. H e has b e e n accused of p r o m o t i n g t h e status q u o

a n d accused of b e i n g a social conservative. Paul has b e e n cast as sexist a n d p r o b a b l y racist. M o s t c o n t e m p o r a r y scholarship has a d d e d t o this list of m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g s a n d scourges. Paul has b e e n shipwrecked, beaten, jailed, a n d grossly misrepresented.

A Legacy of Distortion and Betrayal
Neil Elliott is correct w h e n h e observes, "Paul himself is far m o r e an advo­ cate of h u m a n liberation t h a n t h e inherited theological tradition has led us to think." Elliott is n o t alone in this perspective; b u t his w o r k offers o n e of t h e m o s t t h o r o u g h l y helpful a p p r o a c h e s for p r e a c h e r s w h o interpret Pauline texts for c o n t e m p o r a r y believers.
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Elliott identifies t w o major "problems" w i t h i n t h e inherited theological tradition t h a t have c o n t r i b u t e d to m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g Paul. T h e first p r o b l e m is t h e "pseudepigraphic device" of conflating u n d i s p u t e d Pauline writings w i t h d i s p u t e d o r pseudo-Pauline w r i t i n g s . H e argues that t h e socially conservative o r politically pragmatic writer w h o m a n d a t e s obedi­ e n c e to R o m e is n o t t h e s a m e writer w h o claims t h a t "[i]n Christ t h e r e is n o Jew o r Greek." S o m e interpreters will a t t e m p t to h a r m o n i z e t h e s e differ­ e n c e s by claiming t h a t Paul was a c o n t e x t u a l p r e a c h e r w h o said different things to different c o m m u n i t i e s d e p e n d i n g o n t h e a r g u m e n t at stake.
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This contextualizing a p p r o a c h is s o m e w h a t m o r e b e n i g n t h a n its h a r m o n i z i n g twin. T h e p r o b l e m is c o m p o u n d e d n o t just by a n a t t e m p t to h a r m o n i z e t h e t w o sets of writings b u t also by a c o m m o n a p p r o a c h t h a t actually g r a n t s t h e d i s p u t e d writings h e r m e n e u t i c a l p o w e r over t h e undis­ p u t e d letters. "[T]he i n a u t h e n t i c letters have even c o n t a m i n a t e d t h e way we read Paul's g e n u i n e letters . . . [T]he oppressive face of t h e 'canonical' Paul is largely t h e reflection of w o r d s Paul never wrote." Elliott goes to great lengths to d e m o n s t r a t e h o w w e read texts a b o u t Rome, a b o u t w o m e n , a b o u t h o u s e h o l d s , a n d a b o u t "the Jews" as authoritatively Pauline
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a n d h o w t h e y have b e c o m e t h e h e r m e n e u t i c a l lens t h r o u g h w h i c h w e read Paul's m o r e liberating claims. Elliott argues t h a t even w i t h i n t h e undis­ p u t e d letters t h e r e are interpolations by later writers (pseudo-Pauline writers) t h a t t e n d to c o n t a m i n a t e a n d skew Paul's o w n theological project. Beyond this canonical b e t r a y a l t h e r e is a n o t h e r traditional s t u m b l i n g block t h a t interferes w i t h a g e n u i n e Pauline e n c o u n t e r : his mystification at t h e h a n d s of t h e theologians a n d t h e homiletical tradition. S o m e of t h e socalled "paradoxes" are explained away by a spiritualized h e r m e n e u t i c t h a t led h i m to value "inner freedom in Christ" instead of "socioeconomic freedom," which was after all "merely a civil matter" w i t h o u t theological significance to t h e church. This interpretive strategy is m o s t recognizable w h e n dealing w i t h t h a t p e s k y Galatians text, "There is n o longer J e w or Greek, t h e r e is n o longer slave or free, t h e r e is n o longer male a n d female" (3:28). Traditional h e r m e n e u t i c a l a n d homiletical gambits have depoliticized verses like this (usually in a misguided a t t e m p t to "submit" to govern­ m e n t a l authority) a n d claimed t h a t t h e implied equal status is only a spiri­ tual status and n o t a recognition of real social equality^ Real social equality w o u l d challenge t h e status q u o , s o m e t h i n g A m e r i c a n slave-owners realized w h e n preachers a n d converted slaves took Paul literally a n d e x p e c t e d manumission.
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This spiritualizing strategy was certainly bolstered by M a r t i n Luther's a p p r o a c h to Pauline theology. For years, J. Christiaan Beker h a s w r i t t e n a b o u t Luther's "hold" o n i n t e r p r e t i n g Paul, b u t e v e n in t h e twenty-first c e n t u r y we c o n t i n u e to see t h e depoliticized a p p r o a c h reinforced in ordi­ n a r y lectionary helps a n d homiletical a p p r o a c h e s . According t o this spiri­ tual or depoliticized approach, t h e key to Pauline t h e o l o g y is justification by grace. Luther's legacy e n c o u r a g e s us (still!) to see Paul as a n o p p o n e n t of Judaism a n d "works righteousness" a n d to rely o n spiritual freedom instead of social freedom. As Elliott writes, Once the Reformation made Paul's discussion of justification by faith in Romans into "the center, not only of the Pauline message but of the whole Christian proclamation" (Kasemann), nothing could prevent the apostle's perceived critique of Judaism in that letter from being similarly placed at the heart of his theology.
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As Elliott, Beker, a n d o t h e r N e w T e s t a m e n t scholars attest, using a so-

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called Pauline theological center (grace vs. works) as a n interpretive strategy for t h e G o s p e l s a n d for early Christianity leads to h e r m e n e u t i c a l mistakes across t h e board. W h a t w e t h i n k Paul said is serious business for preaching from b o t h Pauline and o t h e r texts. It is probably safe to say t h a t generations of p r e a c h e r s have b e e n re-inscribing a highly spiritualized, depoliticized, moralistic, a n d socially conservative b r a n d of Christian superi­ ority. Preaching m a i n t a i n s a homiletical tradition of interpretation; we t e n d to preach s e r m o n s t h e way w e have h e a r d t h e m p r e a c h e d before. So, w h e n we have to p r e a c h a s e r m o n o n t h e t e n lepers in Luke, w e are immediately t e m p t e d to m a k e t h e s a m e h e r m e n e u t i c a l leap t h a t L u t h e r m a d e : t h e n i n e lepers were legalistic a n d self-absorbed a n d did n o t recognize t h e t r u e Messiah. T h e t e n t h leper was s o m e h o w spiritually superior, having recog­ nized t h e Messiah a n d knelt at his feet.

Vindicating Paul
O n e of t h e obvious starting places is w i t h t h e canonical record. N e w Testament scholars a n d homiletical scholars are n o t of o n e accord on t h e best way to d o this. Elliott t e n d s to suggest a rigorous distinction b e t w e e n t h e true Pauline material a n d t h e pseudo-Pauline material, a n d h e gives p r i m a r y authority to t h e u n d i s p u t e d letters a n d portions. H e wants to reverse t h e legacy of reading t h r o u g h a spiritualized a n d depoliticized inter­ pretive strategy. T h e pseudo-Pauline materials get second-class status (at best) and m u s t s u b m i t to scrutiny by t h e u n d i s p u t e d Pauline materials. For Elliott, an egalitarian, socially liberal, politically committed, a n d fundamen­ tally Jewish-friendly Paul is t h e key to reading t h e disputed texts and letters. To put the point in strong language, we must recognize, on principle, that the Paul who speaks to us in the New Testament as a whole is an artificial composite, resulting in part from a campaign of deliberate revision of the memory of Paul . . . . [W]e must be prepared to judge that the author of 1 Timothy, for example, was as much a betrayer of Paul as his "disciple," a saboteur of one form of Pauline community as much as a member of a Pauline "school."
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O t h e r s are reluctant to e m b r a c e this approach. Elizabeth J o h n s o n a n d Luke Timothy J o h n s o n argue along t h e lines of J. Christiaan Beker, w h o writes, "[E]ven in their failures t h e early interpreters of Paul provide t h e church t o d a y w i t h i m p o r t a n t guidelines a n d w a r n i n g signals." Elizabeth
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J o h n s o n s o u n d s a similar note: "If Paul did n o t write t h e m , t h e y d o n o t cease to b e the church's scripture." In h e r recent b o o k o n p r e a c h i n g a n d t h e Pauline "problem," homiletician N a n c y L a m m e r s G r o s s sides w i t h this m o r e conciliatory (and canonically conservative) school of t h o u g h t , She d o e s so, for t h e m o s t part, from t h e s a m e canonical c o n c e r n s as Johnson's, Beker's, a n d Luke J o h n s o n ' s . But s h e also d o e s so from literary-critical c o n c e r n s that authorial i n t e n t i o n s are less i m p o r t a n t t h a n rhetorical inten­ tions w h e n it c o m e s to interpretive strategies. To s o m e extent, L a m m e r s G r o s s is almost indifferent to isolating "authentic" Pauline theology, since h e r strategy is to p r e a c h t h e way t h a t Paul p r e a c h e d (contextually) a n d not necessarily t h e s a m e theological content t h a t Paul p r e a c h e d .
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W h e t h e r we agree w i t h Elliott's m o r e radical a p p r o a c h or a d o p t t h e m o r e conciliatory a p p r o a c h outlined above, w e should at least acknowl­ edge that, from a practical perspective, m a n y p r e a c h e r s have already dea u t h o r i z e d the m o s t troubling claims of t h e pseudepigraphical texts; we just let t h e m die by default a n d skip over t h e m w h e n t h e y c o m e u p in t h e lectionary cycle. M a y b e w e should just b e m o r e o p e n a n d h o n e s t w i t h o u r listeners and tell t h e m w h y we c a n n o t p u t t h o s e particular w o r d s in o u r m o u t h s . M a y b e c h u r c h s c h o o l classes s h o u l d r u n c o n c u r r e n t w i t h p r e a c h i n g series, so t h a t lay p e o p l e would have e x p o s u r e to t h e s a m e theo­ logical d e b a t e s a n d d i l e m m a s their p r e a c h e r s do. As we will discuss later, radical h o n e s t y m a y b e a homiletical necessity. Beyond t h e canonical problem, we have t h e issues of w h a t constitutes t h e center or c o n t o u r s of Paul's theological t h o u g h t . If it is n o t Luther's depoliticized justification by grace (grace vs. works), t h e n is it s o m e t h i n g else? T h e m o s t compelling a n d convincing discussions c o m e from t h o s e w h o claim t h a t Paul's t h e o l o g y was t h o r o u g h l y apocalyptic in its u n d e r s t a n d i n g , even if his letters w e r e n o t apocalyptic visions or apocalyptic literary genres. To say t h a t t h e s e claims are compelling a n d convincing is t o attest to t h e power of a liberating theo-ethical vision as well as to t h e explanatory a n d interpretive traction t h e y provide. Additionally, since m u c h of t h e N e w T e s t a m e n t writings are apocalyptic in perspective, this move p u t s Paul back in conversation w i t h i n t e r t e s t a m e n t a l Judaism, t h e G o s p e l writers, a n d t h e early church. The basic structure of Paul's apocalyptic t h o u g h t is g r o u n d e d in t h e idea t h a t t h e world is constantly in d a n g e r of t e m p t a t i o n a n d c o r r u p t i o n by t h e p o w e r s and principalities. While Paul (and t h e o t h e r early writers) may

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have had images of s o m e spiritual d e m o n s flapping a r o u n d , t h e n o t i o n of powers a n d principalities c a n n o t b e r e d u c e d to t h e p r e s e n c e of simple s u p e r n a t u r a l beings o r agents. T h e p o w e r s function to hold c o m m u n i t i e s together in c o r r u p t systems of relationship, a b u s e of power, a n d domina­ t i o n strategies. T h e p o w e r s are seductive a n d powerful b e c a u s e t h e y operate deceptively; t h e y "blind" p e o p l e a n d "bind" t h e m in captivity. T h e "Old Age," or "this generation," is d o m i n a t e d by t h e p o w e r s a n d principali­ ties. "The System d e l u d e s p e o p l e into t h i n k i n g n o t only t h a t t h e y deserve their positions [of privilege or powerlessness] b u t t h a t this social o r d e r is t h e only o n e possible."
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In t h e "New Age," people will b e freed from their blindness and captivity. They will b e able to recognize t h e powers and t h e deceptions and will form n e w kinds of h u m a n c o m m u n i t i e s . Part of t h e prophetic task of t h e religious leader w a s t o n a m e t h e powers a n d their operation a n d t o p o i n t to an alternative vision of G o d ' s h o p e for t h e world. The proclamation of G o d ' s future was a fundamental challenge to hierarchies based o n merit, social status, or any o t h e r kind of h u m a n construct. Apocalyptic t h o u g h t was n o t just a pie-in-the sky h o p e for heaven b u t a motivation for social change. As Beker p u t s it, t h e motifs of dualism ( O l d / N e w , blind/sight, dark/light, captivity/freedom) stress "that G o d ' s plan for t h e world engages t h e Christians in a battle against t h e present structures of t h e world."
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T h e s a m e kind of a r g u m e n t s h o w s u p in Beker's s u b s e q u e n t work, as well as in t h e w o r k of Walter Wink a n d Paul Minear; a n d it also c o m e s t o b e a r in Elliott's discussion of Paul's politics. Elliott claims t h a t Paul was n o t "converted" from J u d a i s m to Christianity b u t was "called" by a vision of t h e risen Christ to a s s u m e a p r o p h e t i c v o c a t i o n . Paul's p r o p h e t i c vocation involved public proclamation, social critique, a n d t h e formation of ethical c o m m u n i t i e s . Key to Paul's o w n theological u n d e r s t a n d i n g was t h e cruci­ fixion a n d resurrection of Jesus, w h i c h indicated t h a t G o d operates in history t h r o u g h a p p a r e n t w e a k n e s s a n d c o n t i n u e s t o w o r k toward t h e future by vindicating t h e victims of violence a n d abuse. "By t h e grace of G o d , m e n a n d w o m e n nevertheless c o n t i n u e to live o u t t h e power of t h e resurrection even w i t h i n t h e realm of D e a t h , decked o u t in t h e s p l e n d o r of t h e c u r r e n t world e m p i r e a n d to defy t h e t h u n d e r o u s threats of death, trusting themselves to a G o d w h o gives life t o t h e d e a d . " Even if Paul w e r e n o t leading a resistance g r o u p or calling for acts of civil disobedience, his theological worldview, g r o u n d e d in t h e Cross a n d Resurrection, would
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have b e e n inherently political a n d t h r e a t e n i n g .

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a n d consistent w i t h t h e social reversals a n d t h e k i n g d o m of G o d at t h e h e a r t of Jesus' o w n preaching. F r o m this perspective, it is almost impos­ sible to imagine t h a t Paul w o u l d have urged Christians to view R o m e as a legitimate authority, to k e e p t h e w o m e n quiet in gatherings, or to justify h u m a n slavery. Obviously p r e a c h e r s will flinch at t h e idea of b e c o m i n g apocalyptic thinkers themselves. We have already tinkered a r o u n d w i t h existentialist a n d t h e r a p e u t i c strategies to d e m y t h o l o g i z e m u c h of t h e N e w Testament, a n d Paul m a y have s e e m e d a w e l c o m e break to generations of p r e a c h e r s w h o w a n t e d to p r e a c h just a b o u t "spiritual" t h i n g s a n d leave politics to t h e secular world. In fact, t h a n k s to t h e grip of Luther's t h e o l o g y o n homilet­ ical h e r m e n e u t i c s , w e have b e e n d o i n g it for a long time. D e m y t h o l o g i z i n g Paul's apocalyptic worldview a n d ethics is really n o t s o difficult to d o for t h o s e of u s w h o have s o m e familiarity w i t h liberation t h e o l o g y or c o n t e m p o r a r y contextual theologies. Instead of r e d u c i n g t h e p o w e r s a n d principalities to i n n e r turmoils a n d e m o t i o n a l conflicts, w e can easily a n d faithfully interpret t h e m as systems of cultural a n d political d o m i n a t i o n a n d m e r c h a n t s of death. D o u g l a s J o h n Hall's w o r k in The Stewardship of Life in the Kingdom of Death is extraordinarily p r e a c h e r friendly. H e casts t h e apocalyptic worldview of t h e biblical w i t n e s s into c o n t e m p o r a r y N o r t h A m e r i c a n social reality. What better way to describe the situation of the nations of the earth in the last quarter of the twentieth century than to say that they have made a covenant with death? There has been a tacit agreement among the powers that be that life, if it is to endure, can only be guaranteed by a dangerous pact with death . . . With the kind of fervor usually reserved for fanatic forms of religion, the empires pile up the weapons of megadeath.
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A s Charles Campbell claims, "[T]ruthful s p e e c h b e c o m e s t h e m e a n s of nonviolent resistance to t h e D o m i n a t i o n System." Of course, all t h o s e familiar w i t h apocalyptic rhetoric, particularly w i t h Paul's rhetoric, will recognize a peculiar rhetorical device t h a t is key t o Paul's u n d e r s t a n d i n g of t h e Cross and t h e Resurrection. Alexandra Brown a n d o t h e r s have referred to this as a "rhetoric of folly," w h i c h functions to disclose realities at t h e s a m e t i m e t h a t it redefines t h e m . Speaking of t h e Cross, Brown writes,
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From the conventional wisdom of the old world, it is the symbol of suffering, weakness, folly, and death. But from the perspective of the new creation, it is the transforming symbol of power and life. The movement of his audience from the one perspective to the other through the re-presentation of the cross in preaching (the repetition of the kerygma) is Paul's persisting apocalyptic objective, not only in 1 Corinthians but throughout his writings.
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For Paul, t h e only way t o reverse t h e d e a t h spiral a n d t h e d o m i n a t i o n of t h e powers a n d principalities is to refuse to play t h e power game. The Cross is n o t a symbol of powerlessness b u t t h e ultimate rejection of t h e power game. O n t h e cross, Jesus d e m o n s t r a t e s t h e ultimate power—death defiance. A n d by G o d ' s activity of resurrection, t h e Jesus strategy is vindicated. N o w o n d e r Paul can crow, "Where, O death, is y o u r victory? Where, O death, is y o u r sting?" (1 Cor. 15:55). Of course, let us give credit w h e r e credit is due. Paul is probably q u o t i n g Hosea, "Shall I r a n s o m t h e m from t h e power of Sheol? Shall I r e d e e m t h e m from D e a t h ? O D e a t h , w h e r e are y o u r plagues? O Sheol, w h e r e is your destruction?" (Hos. 13:14). It is n o t likely that Paul t h o u g h t H o s e a was d o i n g a commercial for Jesus, b u t that Hosea's o w n apocalyptic flavor of p r o p h e t i c rhetoric attested to t h e s a m e reality.
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W o m e n p r e a c h e r s (and o t h e r disenfranchised folks) w h o have b e e n l o a t h e to p r e a c h from Paul might find h i m a g o o d conversation p a r t n e r if t h e y take his rhetoric of folly seriously. Paul is categorically suspicious of a n y t h i n g t h a t looks like g r o u p pride, g r o u p power, or hierarchical strate­ gies, referring to t h e s e as "worldly w i s d o m " o r strategies "according t o t h e flesh." Paul is regularly accused of b e i n g dualistic, valuing t h e spirit over t h e flesh; b u t t h a t is p r o b a b l y a gross simplification of Paul's thinking. Paul s e e m s to identify t w o kinds of spirituality: o n e kind t h a t takes its cues "from t h e flesh" (worldly d o m i n a t i o n systems) a n d a n o t h e r kind that takes its cues "from t h e spirit" (the m i n d of Christ). Both kinds of spiritualities are e m b o d i e d , b u t t h e y o p e r a t e their e m b o d i m e n t by d o m i n a t i o n a n d nonviolence, respectively. F r o m this perspective, Paul's o d d language in R o m a n s 12 m a k e s m o r e sense. H e urges believers to m a k e their b o d i e s living sacrifices t h a t b e l o n g to o n e a n o t h e r as p a r t of t h e s a m e body. Before w e j u m p to a n y conclu­ sions, we s h o u l d n o t e t h a t Paul is p r o b a b l y n o t asking w o m e n (or any o t h e r marginalized group) to u n d e r t a k e this as a n act of unilateral submission; rather, this is a mandate for all believers t o b e alive in their spirituality a n d n o t

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to c o n s i d e r themselves better t h a n o t h e r m e m b e r s of t h e c o m m u n i t y . It functions as a call t o an ethical a n d e m b o d i e d spirituality, n o t just a n assur­ a n c e of individual salvation. C o m m u n i t i e s of believers are w h a t David Buttrick has called "the a d v a n c e guards" of t h e Kingdom. Christian c o m m u n i t i e s are to e m b o d y a n e w way of living together, as a c o r p o r a t e a n d anticipatory w i t n e s s t h a t t h e world is b e i n g r e d e e m e d . O u r c h a n g e d c o m m u n a l life, w h i c h takes its cues from G o d ' s future, is a sign to t h e world of a n alternative way of life. This, says Paul, is w h a t spirituality is all about—not to benefit ourselves b u t to benefit t h e world. We are to s h o w forth G o d ' s r e d e m p t i o n in a c t i o n .
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O p e r a t i n g from w i t h i n a rhetoric of folly, vulnerability is real strength; love is power; and social failure is religious success, In fact, t h e rhetoric of folly is n o t just instructive b u t essential to u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h e Christian faith if we w a n t to avoid reinforcing cultural values of d o m i n a t i o n a n d sociopolit­ ical coercive control. O t h e r g o o d resources for u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h e rhetoric of folly as it relates to g e n d e r issues are Sally Purvis's The Power of the Cross: Foundations for a Christian Feminist Ethic of Community a n d M a r y Solberg's Compelling Knowledge: A Feminist Proposal for an Epistemology of the Cross? Besides t h e rhetorical strategy at t h e h e a r t of Paul's t h e o l o g y of t h e Cross a n d t h e Resurrection, t h e r e is a language issue t h a t should b e of interest to preachers, David Williams's b o o k o n Pauline m e t a p h o r s can b e almost revelatory for t h e p r e a c h i n g task. N o t limiting himself to t h e m e t a p h o r s of t h e u n d i s p u t e d or "real" Paul, Williams treats all t h e letters as authoritative for consideration. However, a t t e n d i n g t o Paul's m e t a p h o r i c a l world, we find o t h e r strands of c o n t i n u i t y w i t h J u d a i s m as well as Paul's mission to t h e Gentile world. S o m e of his m e t a p h o r s are t h o r o u g h l y drawn from H e b r e w Bible motifs a n d o t h e r s are t a k e n quite specifically from R o m a n society. Paul's Jewish roots are still evident and constitute the structure and content of his theology, although the content of his theology was radically re-oriented by the Christ event. Sometimes his medium—his metaphors—reflects the Jewishness of his upbringing; for example, he portrays himself as the "friend" of the bride or sees the olive as a symbol of the people of God.
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Williams d o e s n o t a t t e n d to t h e apocalyptic t h e o l o g y t h a t p r o b a b l y u n d e r g i r d s m a n y of Paul's m e t a p h o r s , b u t his w o r k is certainly friendly to

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a n apocalyptic interpretation. For example, his discussion of t h e labor a n d delivery m e t a p h o r s in Rom. 8:18-25 s e e m s t a m e d t o a s o m e w h a t Luthere s q u e c o m m e n t a r y o n t h e final installment of o u r o w n salvation; b u t it could just as easily b e e x p a n d e d t o t h e m o r e politicized a n d social m e a n i n g of "the w h o l e creation has b e e n g r o a n i n g in labor pains until now" (8:22). S o m e of Williams's m o s t helpful w o r k o n m e t a p h o r will assist p r e a c h e r s in m a k i n g s e n s e of s o m e of t h e m o s t offensive images: slavery, sacrifice, submission, h e a d s h i p . H i s work w i t h t h e "pedagogue" m e t a p h o r directs preachers to a b e t t e r u n d e r s t a n d i n g of Paul's relationship to Israel. A preacher s y m p a t h e t i c t o Neil Elliott's canonical preferences will notice t h a t certain m e t a p h o r s associated w i t h Paul d o n o t s h o w u p in t h e u n d i s p u t e d letters. Charles Campbell's homiletical w o r k offers guidelines for preachers t h a t could just as easily b e guidelines for faithful living. C a m p b e l l d o e s n o t d r a w exclusively from Pauline work b u t from t h e general u n d e r s t a n d i n g of N e w Testament powers a n d principalities. H e claims t h a t t h e preacher's p r i m a r y task is to deal w i t h t h e p o w e r s a n d to u n m a s k t h e m . T h e powers work as social, conceptual, a n d political constructs. They distort o u r perceptions a n d d o m i n a t e o u r lives w i t h rules and structures, p u n i s h m e n t s a n d rewards, appeals to self-preservation, a n d d e a t h threats. We are n o t called to destroy t h e powers, since t h e y are simply p a r t of fallen creation—and t h e y m u s t b e r e d e e m e d . In fact, any i n t e n t i o n of destroying t h e powers would simply b e playing t h e "destruction," o r p u n i s h m e n t , g a m e - a s y m p t o m of Old Age thinking. F r o m there, C a m p b e l l moves into discussions of t h e n a t u r e of t h e church, c o m m u n a l ethics, a n d politics. Since t h e p o w e r of "the powers" is actually invisible to us, b l i n d e d as w e are by t h e n o t i o n t h a t t h e y d o n o t exist, "the m o n s t r o u s homiletical h e r e s y of r e c e n t years is t h e a s s u m p t i o n that t h e w h o l e d r a m a of t h e gospel takes place b e t w e e n G o d a n d h u m a n beings. T h e aggressiveness of t h e p o w e r s a n d t h e moral captivity of p e o p l e have received i n a d e q u a t e a t t e n t i o n . "
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In fact, h e claims, m u c h Christian preaching actually participates in t h e d o m i n a t i o n system by trafficking in deception, pride, violence, and appeals to self- or institutional preservation. H e calls for homiletical virtues of friend­ ship (mostly as moral c o m m i t m e n t instead of friendly feelings), honesty (as exposure of unpleasantries a n d as directness p r o m o t e d by Paulo Freire's pedagogy of t h e oppressed), resistance (advocacy a n d d a n g e r o u s m e m o r i e s

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p r o m o t e d by J o h a n n Metz), anger (as c o m p a s s i o n w i t h victims p r o m o t e d by Bev Harrison's ethics of anger), patience (especially as a n "ethic of risk" p r o m o t e d by Sharon Welch), a n d a wild apocalyptic hope t h a t t h e world can b e r e d e e m e d (see Paul Minear). Campbell's list of virtues is c o n s o n a n t w i t h discussions of virtue lists in o t h e r w o r k s o n Paul. A n d his list of virtues helps us interpret Paul's o w n advice to congregations. W h e n Paul offered lists of fruits of t h e Spirit (2 C o r i n t h i a n s 6, Galatians 5), h e was actually identifying "signs" of faithful­ n e s s as t h e y manifest in i n t e r p e r s o n a l a n d i n t e r g r o u p relationships. Fruits of t h e Spirit are n o t just i n n e r dispositions b u t actual concrete habits of interaction, almost as if Paul w e r e instructing congregations to practice humility, exercise generosity, cultivate p a t i e n t waiting, a n d practice peace. Paul was probably interested less in t h e spiritual o r heavenly benefits to individuals (if you're v i r t u o u s you'll get to heaven) a n d m o r e interested in forming c o m m u n i t i e s t h a t w o u l d o p e r a t e by different standards. Christian congregations w e r e t o b e a sign to t h e world t h a t G o d was active in r e d e e m i n g social life. A s Victor Paul Furnish concludes, "It is misleading, then, to say that Paul is h e r e seeking to paint in w o r d s t h e portrait of t h e g o o d m a n [sic] [T]he effect of Paul's e n u m e r a t i o n of t h e excellences is
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to b r o a d e n t h e Christian's responsibilities, n o t to limit t h e m . "

Conclusions
M u c h of t h e recent scholarship o n Paul a n d related topics has o p e n e d t h e Pauline c o r p u s to n e w interpretive possibilities. For p r e a c h e r s w h o have a b a n d o n e d Paul, t h e r e is significant h o p e in r e c a p t u r i n g Paul's vision of a r e d e e m e d world, his u n d e r s t a n d i n g of systems of d o m i n a t i o n , his c o m m u n a l ethics, a n d his love of Judaism. Even t h o u g h w e have sketched o u t only hints of t h e "rehabilitated" Paul, it is safe t o say t h a t t h e old complaints a b o u t h i m are p r o b a b l y g r o u n d e d o n g e n e r a t i o n s of interpre­ tive b l u n d e r s . Paul p r o b a b l y was not a "convert" in t h e usual s e n s e a n d p r o b a b l y n o t t h e theological conservative we have b e e n led t o believe. H e p r o b a b l y was not L u t h e r a n or even A n s e l m i a n (no sacrificial a t o n e m e n t in Paul). H e probably saw himself as a Jew following a Jewish messianic p r o p h e t a n d called to evangelize t h e Gentiles a n d graft t h e m o n t o Israel's future. In t h e process, h e m o s t likely offended Jews and Gentiles. H e p r o b ­ ably was very interested in political realities a n d social transformation and willing to look like a fool for it.

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Preachers will w a n t to take t h e u n d i s p u t e d letters of Paul o n their o w n t e r m s a n d avoid i n t e r p r e t i n g t h e m from t h e socially conservative a p p r o a c h e s of t h e d i s p u t e d letters. Preachers will w a n t to find ways to d e m y t h o l o g i z e Paul's apocalyptic t h o u g h t i n t o social categories a n d will find g o o d resources for this in his m e t a p h o r s a n d t h e rhetoric of folly. We p r o b a b l y will have to r e t h i n k n o t i o n s of individual salvation, Luther's inter­ pretations of Pauline theology, apolitical s e r m o n s , hierarchical theologies, a n d Christian superiority. In short, w e will have t o h u m b l e ourselves a n d tell t h e t r u t h . We will have t o n a m e t h e p o w e r s in o u r c o m m o n life, from t h e way t h e y o p e r a t e politically a n d militarily to t h e way t h e y o p e r a t e subtly in o u r o w n religious behaviors a n d a s s u m p t i o n s . With Paul, w e m a y have to p o i n t o u t w h e r e folks are b e i n g b e w i t c h e d a n d bedazzled. We also will have to a d m i t o u r o w n complicity in t h e d o m i n a t i o n system. A n y t h i n g less is just self-deception a n d a capitulation t o t h e p o w e r s t h a t hold t h e pulpit captive. L. Susan Bond is Lecturer in Homiletics and Practical Ministry at Brite Divinity School, Fort Worth, Texas, and an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Endnotes
1. Neil Elliott, Liberating Paul: The Justice of God and the Politics of the Apostle (Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press/Orbis Books, 1994), 23. 2. The undisputed Pauline letters are Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon, 3. Elliott, Liberating Paul, 25. 4. In "The Canonical Betrayal of the Apostle," Elliott claims that the most trou­ bling texts are either pseudepigrapha or interpolations. We may consider t h e m canonically authoritative if we wish, but we should not use t h e m to understand the genuine Pauline corpus. God's judgment on "the Jews" (1 Thess. 2:14-16), the mandate for women's silence (1 Cor. 14:34-35), and urging submission to the government (Rom. 13:1-7) are increasingly considered by scholars to be interpolations into otherwise undisputed Pauline materials. 5. In 1706, Puritan leader Cotton Mather stirred u p a bit of trouble with his treatise "The N e g r o Christianized," in which h e argued for t h e abolition of slavery based on a demystified and politicized reading of Paul.

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6. Elliott, Liberating Paul, 67. See Kasemann's seminal essay, in which he claims t h a t "[a]pocalyptic is t h e m o t h e r of N e w T e s t a m e n t theology." In E r n s t Kasemann, "The Beginnings of Christian Theology," in Journal for Theology and the Church: Apocalypticism, ed. by R. Funk (New York: Herder and Herder, 1969), 6:40. 7. Elliott, Liberating Paul, 26-27. 8. J. Christiaan Beker, Heirs of Paul: Paul's Legacy in the New Testament and in the Church Today (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991), 126. 9. Elizabeth Johnson, "Ephesians," in Carol A. N e w s o m e and Sharon H. Ringe, eds., The Women's Bible Commentary (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 1992), 341. 10. Nancy Lammers Gross, // You Cannot Preach like Paul... Eerdmans, 2002). (Grand Rapids, MI:

11. Charles L. Campbell, The Word before the Powers: An Ethic of Preaching (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 2002), 27. 12. This should remind us of Jesus' inaugural address in Luke's Gospel. In Luke 4:18-19, Jesus proclaims, "The Spirit of the Lord is u p o n me, because he has anointed m e to bring good news to the poor. H e has sent m e to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." 13. See Walter Brueggemann, The Prophetic Imagination (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1978). 14. J. Christiaan Beker, Paul's Apocalyptic Gospel: The Coming Triumph of God (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1982), 44. 15. Elliott's interpretation of Paul's relation to Judaism and his "paradigm shift" is much too complex to discuss here. Readers are urged to b e c o m e familiar with Elliott's claim that election could be extended to Gentiles and that nonJews could in fact be grafted o n t o Israel's promises without becoming Jews. The "expansion of election" shift would become problematic for Jews and for Gentile Christians. Paul's polemics were directed against b o t h exclusive Jewish election and against Gentile Christian superiority. According to Elliott and Paula Fredriksen, both postures embraced a kind of religious pride that Paul could neither tolerate nor resolve. See Elliott, Liberating Paul, 140-80. 16. Elliott, Liberating Paul chs, 4 and 5. 17. Ibid., 180. 18. For more insight into the variety of social and political groups operative in early Christian contexts, see Richard A. Horsley's works: Sociology and the Jesus
r

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Movement (New York: Continuum, 1989); Jesus and the Spiral of Violence: Popular Jewish Resistance in Roman Palestine (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992); Paul and Empire: Religion and Power in Roman Imperial Society (New York: Trinity Press, 1997); Bandits, Prophets, and Messiahs: Popular Movements in the Time of Jesus (New York: Trinity Press, 1999); The Message and the Kingdom: How Jesus and Paul Ignited a Revolution and Transformed the Ancient World (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2002); Jesus and Empire: The Kingdom of God and the New World Disorder (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2002). 19. Douglas John Hall, The Stewardship of Life in the Kingdom of Death (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1985), 34, 20. Campbell, The Word before the Powers, 75. 21. Alexandra R. Brown, The Cross and Human Transformation: Paul's Apocalyptic Word in 1 Corinthians (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995), 14. 2 2 . See D . S. R u s s e l l ' s The Method and Message of Jewish Apocalyptic (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1964), 272-76. Russell notes that Hosea's apoca­ lyptic rhetoric is likewise appropriated by Matthew, Mark, and the Book of Revelation. 23. In contrast, Frank J. Matera's lectionary help on Romans 12 advocates an interpretation based on Luther's strategy of salvation and justification by grace through faith. He sees it as a mandate for moral living and seems to confine the eschatological and communal thrust of the text to personal morality, See Strategies for Preaching Paul (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 2001), 42. 24. See also Rodney Kennedy's work o n preaching and m e t a p h o r and t h e rhetoric of folly, The Creative Power of Metaphor: A Rhetorical Homiletics (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1993), especially ch. 3. 25. David J. Williams, Paul's Metaphors: (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1999), 3. 26. Campbell, The Word before the Powers, 70. 27. See Victor Paul Furnish, Theology and Ethics in Paul (Nashville: Abingdon, 1968), 81-89. 28. Ibid., 87, 89. Their Context and Their Character

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would go so far as to say that nearly everyone has a n operative, or func­ tional, theology—a living, working, theological worldview. This is t h e case even if G o d is relegated t o t h e relatively m i n o r status of a h u m a n psycholog­ ical projection or a mythological prop. M o s t people, a n d surely t h o s e w h o have s o m e religious inclination, place themselves within a larger story, or metanarrative, replete with a cosmology a n d a n u n d e r s t a n d i n g of g o o d and evil, in which G o d (or s o m e divine or semi-divine presence) plays a rela­ tively major or minor part. If this p e r s o n lives in N o r t h America and has experienced s o m e interaction with t h e Christian faith, this story can include any n u m b e r of other characters or t h e m e s , including Christ, t h e Holy Spirit, d e m o n s , faith, redemption, and s o m e sense of p e r s o n a l eschatology. Pastors of c h u r c h e s large a n d small k n o w only t o o well t h a t their parishioners h a r b o r all kinds of theological ideas, s o m e of w h i c h are very well considered, b u t m a n y of w h i c h are i m b i b e d by o s m o s i s from maga­ zines, television, t h e Internet, public or private school educators, family m e m b e r s , a n d various relationships o r institutions. Teaching a n adult S u n d a y school class o n "what t h e church believes" is a g o o d way to b e g i n to e n c o u n t e r s o m e of t h e s e operative theologies a n d to see their impact o n people's lives and u p o n t h e life a n d ministry of t h e church. It is foolish t o t h i n k t h a t t h e entire task of lay theological e d u c a t i o n in congregations can b e accomplished from t h e pulpit o n S u n d a y m o r n i n g s . A n y a t t e m p t to b r i n g theological c o h e r e n c e , consistency, a n d relevance into t h e pulpit or to p r e a c h for theological c h a n g e or renewal will have to b e a c c o m p a n i e d by similar efforts in Christian education, pastoral care, evangelism, liturgy, a n d administrative leadership. In fact, I would argue t h a t careful a t t e n t i o n should b e paid t o t h e entire symbolic a n d c o m m u ­ nicative life of t h e c h u r c h from t h e perspective of Christian theology. Pastors n e e d to p a y very careful a t t e n t i o n t o all of t h e ways in w h i c h t h e y are helping p e o p l e talk themselves into b e i n g Christians o n a day-to-day basis, b o t h within a n d b e y o n d t h e church. This is n o t to say t h a t Christian faith can b e socialized t h r o u g h t h e

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simple learning of certain words, phrases, symbolic gestures, a n d ritual practices. As Paul Tillich r e m i n d s us, t h e o l o g y is simply a way in w h i c h w e reflect o n s o m e t h i n g far deeper, t h a t is, o u r faith. We might say t h a t faith is b o t h "prelinguistic" and, in m a n y respects, "precognitive." At a conscious level, our theological words and o u r faith get caught u p t o g e t h e r in such a way as to challenge, d e e p e n , a n d c h a n g e o n e another. A l t h o u g h t h e r e are m a n y a r g u m e n t s for w h i c h of t h e s e c o m e s first-faith o r theology, t h e felt e x p e r i e n c e of G o d or w o r d s a b o u t God—it is very hard to m a k e any verifi­ able j u d g m e n t a b o u t w h i c h is t h e proverbial chicken a n d w h i c h is t h e egg. N o m a t t e r w h i c h c o m e s first, t h e fact r e m a i n s t h a t we n e e d o u r theologies in order to h e l p us u n d e r s t a n d , d e e p e n , a n d c o m m u n i c a t e o u r faith. We also n e e d theological w o r d s and ideas in o r d e r t o d e t e r m i n e w h e t h e r t h e theological t h o u g h t s t h a t w e have are simply idiosyncratic or whether, in fact, t h e y are s h a r e d by o t h e r s a r o u n d us. The preaching ministry is carried o u t o n a week-to-week basis in front of t h e largest g a t h e r i n g of church m e m b e r s t h a t is likely to m e e t o n a n y regular basis w i t h i n a specific congregation. Because of this, t h e pulpit can b e a pivotal (if n o t the pivotal) s o u n d i n g b o a r d for t h e theological conversa­ tions that are taking place elsewhere w i t h i n a n d b e y o n d a congregation. M o s t p e o p l e are eager to hear w h a t o r d a i n e d representatives have to say a b o u t t h e crucial spiritual topics t h a t e m e r g e from within their daily lives: Why d o e s a g o o d G o d p e r m i t suffering? W h a t is evil a n d w h e r e d o e s it c o m e from? H o w a m I to u n d e r s t a n d w h a t is w r o n g w i t h m e a n d w i t h t h e world a r o u n d me? W h o is Jesus Christ anyway? H o w is t h e Holy Spirit at w o r k in m y life? W h a t can I h o p e for? H o w can I love m y enemies? T h e list g o e s o n a n d on. Several years ago I invited a g r o u p of preachers to m a k e a list of as m a n y of t h e s e kinds of q u e s t i o n s as t h e y could, identifying topics of t h e o ­ logical significance t h e y k n e w were o n t h e m i n d s of p e o p l e in their congre­ gations a n d in t h e world a r o u n d t h e m . A large blackboard was s o o n filled w i t h questions, problems, a n d issues. T h e n I asked t h e g r o u p h o w m a n y of t h e m had p r e a c h e d a s e r m o n explicitly on o n e of t h e s e topics in t h e past t w o m o n t h s . I would not p e r m i t t h e m to raise their h a n d s for a s e r m o n that only mentioned or dealt incidentally with o n e of t h e topics. They could only r e s p o n d if t h e y h a d honestly p r e a c h e d a complete s e r m o n o n o n e of t h e s e topics. N o t o n e of t h e m raised a h a n d . I t h e n invited t h e m to listen w i t h m e to w h a t non-mainstream, n o n d e n o m i n a t i o n a l preachers w e r e doing in t h e

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pulpit. The night before, I h a d d o w n l o a d e d from t h e Internet, almost at r a n d o m , M P 3 s e r m o n s by several such preachers, We listened to brief snip­ pets from three or four s e r m o n s . In each instance, t h e preacher was very carefully and consistently articulating and explaining w h a t m o s t of us would call fundamentalist doctrine a n d applying it directly to t h e stuff of everyday life. T h e class concluded that, in fact, consistent theological preaching was being d o n e in our society b u t that it was n o t occurring as often in main­ stream congregations as in i n d e p e n d e n t , fundamentalist churches. We could say m u c h a b o u t t h e possible reasons for this. However, n o m a t t e r w h a t t h e reasons, t h e s e q u e s t i o n s r e m a i n before us: H o w c a n we, as m a i n s t r e a m Protestant preachers, claim t h e o l o g y in t h e pulpit? H o w c a n we p r e a c h a consistent a n d c o h e r e n t theological m e s s a g e t h a t will help lay p e o p l e a n d t h o s e in t h e culture a r o u n d us discover a n d n u r t u r e a d y n a m i c faith in Jesus Christ in ways t h a t will b e helpful for living in t h e s e v e r y difficult times?

Rediscovering Our Theological Convictions
For nearly t e n years, theologian Burton C o o p e r a n d I t a u g h t a c o u r s e o n Theology a n d Preaching. O v e r t h e years, as we adjusted o u r t e a c h i n g m e t h o d s for this course, it b e c a m e clearer a n d clearer t h a t it was h o p e l e s s to r u n away from theological pluralism to t h e high g r o u n d of a particular, c h o s e n form of theology. The fact is that in a pluralistic age such as ours, t h e r e exists a broad range of reasonable theological o p t i o n s t a u g h t in m o s t m a i n s t r e a m d e n o m i n a t i o n a l seminaries, each of w h i c h could b e a t t e n u a t e d to bear t h e u n i q u e m a r k s of d e n o m i n a t i o n a l traditions. It was crucial, therefore, t h a t we help p r e a c h e r s discover, or rediscover (after t h e theolog­ ical d e c o n s t r u c t i o n of t h e first year of seminary), their o w n operative t h e o ­ logical c o m m i t m e n t s . We n e e d e d to h e l p p r e a c h e r s move toward their o w n d e e p e s t theological convictions a b o u t G o d , Christ, a n d C h u r c h at t h e p o i n t w h e r e their living faith a n d t h e church's theologies intersect. We had to foster t h e discovery a n d e m b r a c i n g of o n e ' s w o r k i n g t h e o l o g y a n d t h e n relate t h e convictions t h a t constitute that t h e o l o g y to theologians w h o have articulated similar convictions t h r o u g h o u t t h e church's history. In this way, we sought t o c o n n e c t operative t h e o l o g y w i t h ecclesial t h e o l o g y in s u c h a way as to invite p r e a c h e r s to find themselves w i t h i n t h e kaleido­ s c o p e of t h e church's theological traditions a n d c o n t e m p o r a r y theological constructions.

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With this in mind, w e d e v e l o p e d a theological profile t h a t o u r preaching s t u d e n t s could u s e in o r d e r to d e t e r m i n e t h e basic c o n t o u r s of their o w n theological convictions. This profile includes several sections. In t h e first section, s t u d e n t s are asked t o locate their convictions regarding various h i d d e n d e t e r m i n a n t s or authorities for w h a t t h e y believe. T h e profile asks t h e m to select from a range of positions o n t h e a u t h o r i t y of t h e Bible, experience, reason, a n d c h u r c h tradition. By far t h e m o s t helpful h i d d e n d e t e r m i n a n t is w h a t we c a m e t o call a p e r s o n ' s theological "mode." A theological m o d e is d e t e r m i n e d by e a c h p r e a c h e r t h r o u g h t h e investiga­ tion of their "beginning point," or "starting point," for d o i n g theological reflection. O p t i o n s include t h e existential mode, for t h o s e w h o begin w i t h q u e s t i o n s regarding t h e m e a n i n g of existence a n d finitude; t h e transcendent mode, for t h o s e w h o begin w i t h t h e t r a n s c e n d e n c e of G o d a n d divine reve­ lation; t h e ethical-political mode, for t h o s e b e g i n n i n g w i t h issues of justice or inequities of power; a n d t h e relational mode, for t h o s e b e g i n n i n g with t h e organic-aesthetic relationality of life a n d c o s m o s . T h e s e m o d e s , or "begin­ nings," will usually s h o w u p in t h e ways a p r e a c h e r defines t h e h u m a n condition, h u m a n sinfulness, and t h e n a t u r e of r e d e e m e d life. For instance, for t h e existentialist, t h e h u m a n c o n d i t i o n is defined by issues of over­ w h e l m i n g complexity a n d meaninglessness. Sin e m e r g e s as anxious finite beings seek t o secure themselves in t h e world t h r o u g h various forms of idolatrous behavior. The r e d e e m e d life is found w h e n a s e n s e of reconcilia­ tion w i t h life a n d G o d is restored. O n t h e o t h e r hand, for s o m e o n e in t h e ethical-political m o d e , t h e h u m a n c o n d i t i o n is defined in t e r m s of injustice a n d oppression. Sin is p r e d o m i n a t e l y structural or d e m o n i c in nature, a n d t h e r e d e e m e d life resembles Isaiah's p e a c e a b l e k i n g d o m . As p r e a c h e r s get in t o u c h w i t h t h e s e basic, h i d d e n "modes," m a n y of t h e o t h e r pieces of their operative theological system begin t o fall into place. In t h e remaining sections of t h e profile various d o c t r i n e s are considered, including a range of o p t i o n s for u n d e r s t a n d i n g theodicy, t h e relationship b e t w e e n church a n d culture, t h e relationship b e t w e e n t h e c h u r c h a n d o t h e r religions, a t o n e ­ m e n t , a n d eschatology (personal a n d historical).
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It should b e accentuated, however, that simply discovering one's opera­ tive theological convictions is n o t enough. It is crucial to bring t h o s e convic­ tions into relationship with t h e larger Christian tradition, w i t h theologians w h o have provided t r e m e n d o u s resources for reflecting o n a n d n u r t u r i n g faith. In our classes, o n c e a student's basic convictional profile has b e e n

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determined, we assign readings from within t h e tradition to each s t u d e n t so that h e or she can discover his or her theological "cousins" within t h e church historic and ecumenical. At t h e same time, we ask s t u d e n t s to explore o t h e r theological models by interacting with t h e theological profiles a n d s e r m o n s of t h o s e in t h e class w h o are different from t h e m . In this way, s t u d e n t s learn to respect and to u n d e r s t a n d t h o s e w h o bring o t h e r theological perspectives to bear in t h e interpretation of Christian faith. They also learn w h a t it takes to begin to negotiate a hearing for their o w n messages in relation to congre­ gations in which there are people w h o represent diverse theological views.

Practical Theology, Not Applied Theology
O n c e preachers learn to d e t e r m i n e their operative theologies a n d to place t h e m into relation to larger traditions, it is to b e h o p e d t h a t t h e y will learn h o w to b r o a d e n this theological loop to include a t h o r o u g h reading of t h e living, h u m a n theological d o c u m e n t s a r o u n d t h e m in congregations. It is crucial that preachers learn to listen deeply, comprehensively, a n d theologi­ cally to lay people, assessing t h e spiritual convictions a n d w i s d o m t h a t lay p e o p l e bring to t h e doing of theology. They n e e d to ask h o w it is t h a t t h e y can preach s e r m o n s t h a t will d e e p e n , broaden—sometimes challenge—and always b e instructed by t h e theological convictions p r e s e n t in t h e church. I s o m e t i m e s tell my s t u d e n t s that t h e y will never move a listener to t h e place t h a t h e or she c a n h e a r anything b e y o n d their o w n operative theology, unless t h e y as preachers are willing to move through t h a t operative theology o n t h e way to a n e w place. Even m o r e i m p o r t a n t , it is i n c u m b e n t u p o n p r e a c h e r s to ask t h e s e very practical theological questions: Theologically speaking, w h a t is n e e d e d in this congregation, at this p o i n t in time? W h a t is G o d d o i n g here, a n d h o w can m y preaching h e l p t h e c h u r c h discover a n d act u p o n this? This m a y force us to ask w h i c h aspect of t h e theological s y s t e m is absent, in disarray, or in n e e d of conversation and, perhaps, rethinking. W h a t kinds of ques­ tions are p e o p l e asking? W h a t is going o n in people's lives t h a t m a k e s a particular theological m o d e l or idea crucial at this time? Instead of simply applying a particular theological model, therefore, it is crucial to ask prac­ tical theological q u e s t i o n s a n d t h e n d e t e r m i n e w h i c h theological answers are n e e d e d in a given situation. Of course, it is also t r u e t h a t d o c t r i n e s ask hard q u e s t i o n s of us and, indeed, often convict us in t h a t w e are asking all t h e w r o n g questions. This c a n also b e d e t e r m i n e d t h r o u g h practical t h e o -

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logical reflection in w h i c h a congregation's blind s p o t s are well analyzed a n d considered in relation to t h e larger theological system. In order to m o v e toward this practical theological thinking, t w o m o d e l s or m e t h o d s m u s t b e considered: semiotic a p p r o a c h e s a n d dialogic approaches.

Preaching and Semiotics
Semiotics, s o m e t i m e s called "semiology," is simply t h e s t u d y of signs. M o r e a b r i m m i n g analytic t o o l b o x t h a n a strict discipline, t h e field of semiotics has had a significant impact o n literary criticism, t h e analysis of folklore, cultural anthropology, cultural a n d m e d i a criticism, sociology, political theory, h e r m e n e u t i c s , p h e n o m e n o l o g i c a l a n d d e c o n s t r u c t i v e philosophies, local theology, and, m o s t recently, congregational studies. Two very prac­ tical things can b e d o n e w i t h this rather c o m p l e x field t h a t can help preachers u n d e r s t a n d w h a t is going o n theologically w i t h i n their congrega­ tions a n d h o w t o relate their p r e a c h i n g m o r e effectively t o it.
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T h e first t h i n g t h a t n e e d s to b e d o n e is for p r e a c h e r s to d e t e r m i n e w h a t t h e y are u p against in t e r m s of t h e congregations in w h i c h t h e y are preaching. W h a t views of Scripture are already p r e s e n t a n d h o w is t h e Bible used? W h a t repertoire of theological (and nontheological) topics a n d t h e m e s already p r e d o m i n a t e in a congregation? W h a t theological worldviews are p r e s e n t in t h e congregation a n d h o w did t h e y c o m e into being? W h a t cultural a n d experiential a s s u m p t i o n s exist in t h e congregation? It is essential, therefore, to d o a t h o r o u g h semiotic analysis of t h e congregation, or congregational study. By congregational study, I m e a n a n analysis of t h e signs or symbols t h a t define b o t h t h e e t h o s (tone, character, style, a n d m o o d ) of a congregation a n d its worldview (metanarrative, reality-picture, d e e p structure). This is a kind of e t h n o g r a p h i c analysis of a congregation, as if it were a culture, w h i c h a t t e m p t s to discern h o w it is t h a t a u n i q u e configuration of religious symbols a n d signs e m e r g e s in a c o m m u n i t y in s u c h a way as to b e c o m e an e m o t i o n a l a n d logical m o d e l of a n d for t h e "way things really are." O n t h e o n e h a n d , h o w is it t h a t t h e symbols of Christian faith are actually used w i t h i n a specific congregation to express t h e very d e p t h s of reality, in essence b e c o m i n g a theological m o d e l o / t h i s reality? O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , h o w is it t h a t t h e s e signs o r symbols b e c o m e a theological m o d e l for s h a p i n g t h a t which is really real as it is lived o u t in daily life?
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L e o n o r a Tubbs Tisdale, in h e r b o o k Preaching as Local Theology and Folk

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Art, h a s created a very useful process for d o i n g this kind of theological e t h n o g r a p h y within t h e congregation o n behalf of t h e p r e a c h i n g m i n i s t r y Tisdale shows h o w p r e a c h e r s c a n engage in g u i d e d interviews; s t u d y archival materials s u c h as c h u r c h bulletins, old s e r m o n s , fundraising b r o c h u r e s , and newsletters; d o d e m o g r a p h i c analysis; consider architecture a n d visual arts; s t u d y rituals, special events, a n d activities; a n d observe p e o p l e a n d their usual practices—all in favor of theologically exegeting congregations in a way t h a t resembles exegeting a w r i t t e n text. A t t h e e n d of this process, Tisdale invites p r e a c h e r s to m a k e strategic, practical t h e o ­ logical decisions. These decisions can take five different shapes: 1. Preaching can affirm and confirm t h e right imaginings of t h e congre­ gational heart. 2. Preaching can stretch t h e limits of t h e congregational imagination. 3. Preaching c a n invert t h e a s s u m e d o r d e r i n g of t h e imaginal world of t h e congregation. 4. Preaching can challenge a n d judge t h e false imaginings of t h e congregational heart. 5. Preaching can help congregations imagine worlds t h e y have n o t yet s e e n (or even imagined). To t h e s e five possibilities, I would add a sixth. Preaching c a n allow itself to b e s h a p e d a n d transformed by theological imaginings t h a t are e m e r g i n g within t h e operative t h e o l o g y of t h e congregation. In 1995, Alex Garcia-Rivera published a b o o k entitled St Martin de Porres: The "Little Stories" and the Semiotics of Culture. In this book, Garcia-Rivera d e m o n ­ strated h o w t h e "little story" t h a t e m e r g e d w i t h i n a R o m a n Catholic congre­ gation in Lima, Peru, challenged a n d ultimately subverted t h e "big story" of t h e Catholic tradition's theological a n t h r o p o l o g y a n d eucharistic theology. W i t h o u t recapitulating t h e entire book, suffice it to say t h a t t h e u n i q u e eucharistic practices w i t h i n this parish, in w h i c h t h e C o m m u n i o n e l e m e n t s w e r e distributed in rather dramatic ways a m o n g t h e poor, did m u c h t o raise t h e stature theologically a n d culturally of t h e p o o r a n d marginalized. This practice challenged t h e official, Thomistic theological a n t h r o p o l o g y in w h i c h t h e s e p e r s o n s r e p r e s e n t e d t h e b o t t o m r u n g of a hierarchical h u m a n ladder. It is important, therefore, w h e n d o i n g semiotic or e t h n o g r a p h i c research of one's congregation, to b e attentive to ways in w h i c h local prac­ tices of faith can provide fresh o p e n i n g s for t h e w i n d s of t h e Spirit. The second thing that m u s t b e d o n e is to d e t e r m i n e w h a t aspects of
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congregational theology are addressed by s e r m o n s (as distinct from rituals, Sunday school classes, prayer groups, etc.). This is a matter of determining w h a t semiotic codes, or "conventions of communication," are expected in a s e r m o n and w h a t theological assumptions a n d c o m m i t m e n t s these codes are responding to within congregational life. To d e t e r m i n e this, we have to bring semiotic analysis to bear o n t h e sermon, d e t e r m i n i n g these "codes," a n d t h e n treat these codes as lenses t h r o u g h which to view t h o s e aspects of congregational semiosis (signifying, meaning-making) that these codes are b o t h mirroring a n d shaping. In The Four Codes of Preaching: Rhetorical Strategies, I provide o n e way to accomplish this, identifying four primary codes in preaching: scriptural, semantic, theo-symbolic, a n d cultural. Looking through t h e lens of t h e scriptural c o d e we discover t h e congregation's sacred memory, its way of recalling the foundational events of faith. Over time, t h e way Scripture is used in preaching r e s p o n d s to a n d shapes a form of memory, or anamnesis, within a congregation. Looking t h r o u g h t h e lens of t h e semantic c o d e we can see t h e w h o l e topical a n d thematic life of t h e congregation—its lexicon of organizing ideas. Over time, t h e way ideas are managed in t h e pulpit r e s p o n d s to and shapes a repertoire of ideas and t h e way that a congregation holds t h o s e ideas to b e true. Looking through t h e theo-symbolic code, w e can observe t h e way that t h e m e s , ideas, symbols, a n d ethos s h a p e themselves into a theological story or narrative. Over time, t h e way a preacher relates ideas a b o u t God, humanity, sin, redemption, a n d church r e s p o n d s to a n d shapes a theological and cosmological myth, or metanarrative, in congregational life. Finally, looking t h r o u g h t h e cultural code, we find a congregation's experience of t h e gospel, t h e ways in which o u r listeners are imagining theology in relation to daily life and the practice of faith in t h e world. Over time, t h e way a preacher illustrates s e r m o n s and uses the stuff of o u r c o m m o n cultural life r e s p o n d s to and supports t h e way a congregation experiences faith in daily life.
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This form of semiotic analysis suggests ways in w h i c h congregational theology is formed b a s e d o n an analysis of w h a t trained p r e a c h e r s d o w i t h t h e s e four p r i m a r y codes. In o t h e r words, it treats t h e s t u d y of signs t h r o u g h t h e lens of t h e s e r m o n , rather t h a n t h r o u g h t h e lens of t h e actual, richly textured semiotic life of congregations. Preachers are invited t o iden­ tify their o w n theological style a n d c o m m i t m e n t s within t h e s e four c o d e s a n d to b e aware of w h a t t h e y are doing, semiotically, over time, in a congre­ gation.

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Preaching and Dialogue
Ultimately, semiotic a p p r o a c h e s to practicing homiletical theology in parish contexts, as i m p o r t a n t as they are, leave s o m e t h i n g to b e desired, E t h n o g r a p h i c study constitutes an essential analytical process a n d can contribute e n o r m o u s l y to t h e process of socializing a n d resocializing congregational theologies. However, semiotic practical theology for preaching is able to work only at t h e level at w h i c h theology is represented (or signified) within congregations and d o e s n o t begin to address t h e ways in which this theology is, in fact, constituted m i n u t e by m i n u t e in t h e interh u m a n and interactive life of t h e community, Ultimately, semiotic a p p r o a c h e s d o not take preaching and e m b e d it within a living dialogical process in which theological m e a n i n g is being created a n d s h a p e d by t h e o n g o i n g conversations and verbal interactions t h a t m a k e u p church (and cultural) life. Many theorists of language a n d c o m m u n i c a t i o n have recog­ nized this and have argued for post-semiotic philosophies of communica­ tion t h a t are m o r e dialogic in nature (Gadamer, Bakhtin, Volosinov, Schrag, Stewart). As Bakhtin p u t s it, "The speaker is n o t Adam"; a n d t h e basic unit of language is n o t t h e sign b u t t h e actual h u m a n utterance itself. According to Bakhtin, 'An essential (constitutive) marker of t h e utterance is its quality of being directed to s o m e o n e , its addressivity" Bakhtin goes o n to say that "each utterance is filled w i t h echoes and reverberations of o t h e r utterances to which it is related by t h e c o m m u n a l i t y of t h e s p h e r e of speech c o m m u n i ­ cation Each utterance refutes, affirms, s u p p l e m e n t s a n d relies o n t h e
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others, p r e s u p p o s e s t h e m to b e known, and s o m e h o w takes t h e m into account." With this in mind, t h e preacher as practical theologian is less likely to focus o n t h e larger system of signs within congregations as a shared lifeworld for learning and d o i n g theology a n d will focus m o r e o n t h e kinds of theology that are developing in every instant o n t h e b o u n d a r i e s t h a t exist b e t w e e n speaking subjects. This way of cultivating theology w i t h i n congre­ gations accentuates t h e o t h e r n e s s of each h u m a n b e i n g w i t h i n a congrega­ tion—the m a n y ways in which we are all strangers to o n e a n o t h e r at t h e s a m e time that we are working together to articulate a c o m m u n a l faith. The preacher will focus o n t h e ways in which theological ideas, concepts, beliefs, a n d practices emerge in dialogue b e t w e e n p e r s o n s w h o are, in actuality, very different. Of course, t h e s e conversations rely u p o n t h e larger field of theological ideas a n d constructs within a culture, a tradition, a n d a congre9 10

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gation. This way of t h i n k i n g is posf-semiotic, n o t a-semiotic. T h e accent is placed m o r e u p o n t h e event or eventfulness of theological communication, its "in-the-nowness" a n d t h e u n i q u e ways in which theology is s p o k e n into existence in this very particular m o m e n t a n d place, a n d less u p o n control­ ling and m a n i p u l a t i n g larger structures a n d systems of signs. In o r d e r to place p r e a c h i n g into t h e middle of this process, I e n c o u r a g e a m e t h o d of p r e a c h i n g called "collaborative preaching," in w h i c h p r e a c h e r s are encouraged to hold s e r m o n "roundtables" before preaching. In t h e s e r o u n d t a b l e s lay p e r s o n s , from t h e c e n t e r of c h u r c h life t o its m a r g i n s (and beyond), are involved in a process of s e r m o n b r a i n s t o r m i n g each w e e k . These r o u n d t a b l e s c h a n g e m e m b e r s h i p regularly, so t h a t a n "in g r o u p " c a n n o t develop. I also e n c o u r a g e p r e a c h e r s t o leave b e h i n d lectionary s t u d y g r o u p s w h e r e a s t a n d a r d form of biblical i n t e r p r e t a t i o n is encour­ aged a n d t h e t h e o l o g y t h a t is p r o d u c e d is primarily clerical in n a t u r e a n d to interpret biblical texts w i t h o r d i n a r y p e o p l e in a variety of social loca­ tions. This usually m e a n s leaving t h e pastor's s t u d y altogether for t h e process of b r a i n s t o r m i n g s e r m o n s a n d p e r h a p s even leaving t h e church building, p r e p a r i n g t h e s e r m o n in a public place. S e r m o n r o u n d t a b l e s m e e t in a variety of places, including public buildings, h o m e s , a n d shelters. T h e goal h e r e is t o c o m e t o t e r m s w i t h t h e u n i q u e , strange, a n d s o m e t i m e s bizarre i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of t h e gospel t h a t are a r o u n d u s in o u r culture, in t h e m i n d s a n d h e a r t s of g o o d c h u r c h people, a n d latent w i t h i n t h e recesses of o u r o w n lives. In this way also, o u r theologies have t h e o p p o r t u n i t y t o b e c o m e truly public theologies r a t h e r t h a n theologies t h a t will have a u t h o r i t y only in a n insular way w i t h i n t h e ecclesiastical world.
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N o m a t t e r h o w dialogic practical theologies of preaching are c o n s t r u e d , t h e p r e a c h e r is re-imagined as t h e h o s t of a conversation, r a t h e r t h a n as a p r o p h e t , herald (keryg), witness, o r storyteller. In essence, t h e p r e a c h e r is s e e n as s o m e o n e w h o is initiating, facilitating, a n d stewarding a n o n g o i n g conversation in a n d t h r o u g h which t h e congregation is talking itself into b e c o m i n g m o r e d e e p l y a n d fully Christian. This process accentuates, highlights, a n d even d r a m a t i z e s t h e m a n y ways in which a congregation is u t t e r i n g (creating) or c o n s t i t u t i n g in this v e r y m o m e n t its o w n theological witness. While t h e s e r m o n r e m a i n s a single-party c o m m u ­ nication event, it is embedded within and re-presents an actual interactive, multi­ party communication process in which a group of ordinary people are discerning, articulating, and practicing theology.
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Theology of Preaching
T h e final, a n d p e r h a p s m o s t i m p o r t a n t , aspect of p r e a c h i n g t h e o l o g y is s o m e t i m e s called "the t h e o l o g y of preaching," in distinction from "theology and preaching." At this level, p r e a c h e r s are called u p o n to assess their m o s t p r o f o u n d u n d e r s t a n d i n g of w h a t kind of theological "event" or transaction w i t h G o d is taking place w h e n a preacher speaks. H e r e w e ask q u e s t i o n s s u c h as, "What d o e s G o d w a n t to h a p p e n w h e n I s t a n d u p to preach?" "What is G o d d o i n g d u r i n g a s e r m o n ? " "Why preach?" "What is t h e p u r p o s e of preaching?" W h e n we start to a n s w e r t h e s e q u e s t i o n s , w e begin to u n d e r s t a n d t h a t ultimately preaching is n o t only a b o u t discerning, correcting, or e n h a n c i n g t h e church's theology, by w h a t e v e r m e a n s . At this level w e have to o w n u p to t h e ways in which preaching b e c o m e s G o d ' s w o r d t o us in ways t h a t transform, evangelize, heal, guide, a n d sustain h u m a n life a n d o p e n u p a future in w h i c h t h e p r e s e n c e , power, a n d p u r p o s e s of G o d prevail. T h e r e are m a n y ways of t h i n k i n g intellectually a b o u t h o w it is t h a t p r e a c h i n g b e c o m e s "gospel," or world-transforming g o o d n e w s . S o m e u n d e r s t a n d this as a p a r t of preaching's role as o n e of t h e threefold forms of t h e Word of G o d . For s o m e , it has m o r e t o d o w i t h t h e u n i q u e priestly role t h a t preaching plays in helping p e o p l e to n a m e G o d ' s grace in daily living. For others, p r e a c h i n g b e c o m e s g o s p e l t h r o u g h a n iconoclastic a n n o u n c e m e n t of an eschatological world t h a t is, in m o s t respects, completely c o n t r a r y to or o t h e r w i s e t h a n t h e world as w e k n o w it. For s o m e , this occurs w h e n p r e a c h i n g faithfully a n n o u n c e s G o d ' s farreaching forgiveness, w h i c h saves us from sin a n d guilt. A n d for others, p r e a c h i n g b e c o m e s g o o d n e w s as a w o r d of divine h o p e t h a t perseveres in spite of o v e r w h e l m i n g o d d s in a world of suffering a n d despair. At t h e heart of each of t h e s e theologies of p r e a c h i n g lies a n e x p e r i e n c e of preaching as a living theological vocation. Unless a p r e a c h e r develops this final s e n s e of preaching as a theological vocation, all of o u r tinkerings w i t h o u r o w n operative theologies, semiotic r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s of t h e o l o g y in local contexts, a n d even t h e m o m e n t - b y - m o m e n t c o n s t i t u t i o n of t h e o l o g y in dialogue will have n o u n d e r g i r d i n g o r sustaining m e a n i n g o r p u r p o s e . This is to say w e c a n n o t divorce o u r efforts to improve t h e relationship b e t w e e n t h e o l o g y and preaching from o u r f u n d a m e n t a l decisions a b o u t o u r voca­ tional theology of preaching. We can theologically script a n d re-script o u r o w n lives a n d t h e lives of o t h e r s w i t h great precision a n d still n o t k n o w a

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t h i n g a b o u t t h e transforming p o w e r of t h e Word of G o d in o u r o w n lives, in o u r preaching, a n d in o u r churches. Therefore, t h r o u g h o u t all o u r efforts to improve t h e ways w e preach theology, w e m u s t always b e n d an eye a n d a n ear to t h e ways in w h i c h o u r theological vocation as p r e a c h e r s is b e i n g s h a p e d a n d developed. It is as w e live into this vocation, n o t just intellectu­ ally b u t also w i t h full existential c o m m i t m e n t a n d e m b o d i e d energy, t h a t a n integration occurs in which w e will know, in all of its fullness, w h a t it m e a n s to p r e a c h theology.

John S. McClure is Charles G. Finney Professor of Homiletics in the Divinity School Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee,

Endnotes
1. We have now published this profile in our recent book Claiming Theology in the Pulpit (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2003). This book also includes transcripts from t h e dialogue of a class in which this profile is used in t h e preparation and crafting of sermons. 2. See Nancy Tatom Ammerman, Jackson W. Carroll, Carl S. Dudley, William McKinney, Studying Congregations: A New Handbook (Nashville: A b i n g d o n , 1998). 3. See Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures (New York: Basic Books, 1973), 88-120. 4. Leonora Tubbs Tisdale, Preaching as Local Theology and Folk Art (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1997), 110-21. 5. For more on codes, see Daniel Chandler, Semiotics: The Basics (New York: Routledge, 2002), 148. 6. J o h n S, M c C l u r e , The Four Codes of Preaching: Rhetorical Strategies (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991; reissued Louisville: Westminster J o h n Knox, 2003). 7. See Hans-Georg Gadamer, Philosophical Hermeneutics, ed. and trans, by David E. Linge (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976); Mikhail Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays by M. M. Bakhtin, ed. by Michael Holquist; trans, by Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981), and idem., Speech Genres and Other Late Essays, trans, by Vern W. McGee (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1986); V. N. Volosinov, Marxism and the Philosophy of Language, t r a n s , by Laidslav M a t e j k a a n d I. R. T i t u n i k

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( C a m b r i d g e , MA: H a r v a r d U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1973); C a l v i n O . S c h r a g , Communicative Praxis and the Space of Subjectivity (Bloomington: I n d i a n a University Press, 1986); John Stewart, Language as Articulate Contact: Toward a Post-Semiotic Philosophy of Communication (Albany: SUNY Press, 1995). 8. Mikhail Bakhtin, "The Problem of Speech Genres," in Speech Genres and Other Essays, 94, 95. Quoted in Stewart, Language as Articulate Contact, 120. 9. Ibid., 91. Quoted in Stewart, Language as Articulate Contact, 120. 10. As Bakhtin puts it, the "true essence" of "the event of the life of the t e x t . . . always develops on the boundary between two consciousnesses, two subjects." (106) Quoted in Stewart, Language as Articulate Contact, 120-21. 11. In the Roundtable Pulpit (Nashville: Abingdon, 1995), I focus primarily on roundtables for persons within the congregation itself. Later, I expanded this notion to include others beyond the doors of the church. See "Collaborative Preaching from the Margins," Journal for Preachers 22 (Pentecost, 1996). 12. For other dialogic models, see Lucy Rose, Sharing the Word: The Preaching in the Roundtable Church (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1997); Ronald Allen, Interpreting the Gospel: An Introduction to Preaching (St. Louis: Chalice, 1999).

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AIDA IRIZARRY-FERNANDEZ

A Story
ast year, just a few days before a charge conference in o n e of t h e Korean c h u r c h e s o n m y district, I was asked by t h e pastor to p r e a c h a brief s e r m o n before going i n t o t h e b u s i n e s s session of t h e agenda. I h a d t o confess t h a t I was surprised a n d s o m e w h a t anxious a b o u t this request. This will be an interesting task, I t h o u g h t to myself, a Latina woman preaching in the pulpit of a Korean church. M a n y q u e s t i o n s quickly r u s h e d t h r o u g h m y mind. Would I b e able to c o n n e c t t h r o u g h t h e p r e a c h e d word? Would t h e message b e relevant to this particular c o m m u n i t y ? Would t h e soul of t h e s e r m o n b e lost in t h e translation? Would I n e e d t o m a k e m y s e r m o n brief so as to p r e v e n t p e o p l e from losing interest d u r i n g t h e process of transla­ tion? H o w often d o e s this c o m m u n i t y h e a r a w o m a n preacher? After s o m e p o n d e r i n g , I accepted t h e invitation a n d t o o k s o m e basic steps for m y s e r m o n preparation. M y first task was to pray for d i s c e r n m e n t . I asked t h e Holy Spirit t o lead m e to t h e a p p r o p r i a t e biblical text for t h e occasion. M y prayers w e r e answered. T h e text selected, Jer. 29:4-11, c o n t a i n e d t h e letter t h a t Jeremiah s e n t to his p e o p l e living in exile. A s I reviewed m y p e r s o n a l n o t e s a b o u t this congregation, I also listened care­ fully to their particular history. I discovered t h a t this was i n d e e d an a p p r o ­ priate a n d relevant text for t h e occasion. The next step was to b e c o m e familiar w i t h t h e Korean church in t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s - t h e i r struggles and a c c o m p l i s h m e n t s as an i m m i g r a n t church in a strange land. In m y exegesis of t h e text, I discovered t h a t t h e Korean c o m m u n i t y a n d m y o w n Latino c o m m u n i t y shared s o m e experi­ e n c e s w i t h t h e p r o p h e t Jeremiah. So I found c o m m o n g r o u n d with m y Korean friends despite o u r distinctive cultural differences. I s p e n t t i m e praying for t h e c o n g r e g a t i o n a n d for myself. I asked t h e Source of all inspi­ ration, "God, I have d o n e m y part; n o w it is y o u r turn." W h e n t h e d a y arrived, t h e r e w e r e a b o u t twenty-five p e o p l e in t h e w o r s h i p service. T h e pastor had p r e p a r e d s o m e praise a n d w o r s h i p m u s i c

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just before t h e s e r m o n . N e i t h e r t h e pastor n o r I was sure w h a t to expect, b u t b o t h of us believed we were stepping o n holy g r o u n d as we led w o r s h i p together. It all c a m e together in a beautiful tapestry. M y message was brief a n d succinct b u t filled w i t h passion. T h e expressions o n t h e people's faces and their verbal and nonverbal behavior convinced m e t h a t a three-way conversation—between G o d , t h e congregation, a n d me—was taking place. The feedback I received from m e m b e r s was encouraging. The pastor said to me, "You w e r e able to u n d e r s t a n d a n d c o n n e c t w i t h o u r experience." A lay leader c o m m e n t e d , "You t o u c h e d t h e h e a r t of o u r congregation today." I believe t h a t b o t h t h e p r e a c h e r a n d t h e congregation were blessed by G o d ' s p r e s e n c e t h a t day. Frank G. H o n e y c u t t o n c e said t h a t "a central role for t h e p r e a c h e r is to get a s e n s e of t h e message, faith­ fully speak it, and get out of the way,"
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Challenge and Opportunity
T h e G o d we w o r s h i p t r a n s c e n d s culture. After all, G o d is t h e Creator of humanity. It is h u m a n beings w h o create culture. Culture allows a partic­ ular g r o u p to design a n d assign its values, n o r m s , thinking, a n d behaviors. In a highly diverse a n d fast-changing c o m m u n i t y homiletics n e e d s t o begin w i t h t h e recognition t h a t t h e Creator gave h u m a n i t y t h e ability, w i s d o m , a n d will to create culture. Thus, diversity is a m e a n s t o celebrate creation. The preacher in a multicultural, p o s t m o d e r n world is invited artfully to proclaim t h e unity of t h e spirit while affirming cultural pluralism. Preaching in a multicultural c o n t e x t is exhilarating a n d challenging, A careful look at various sources of statistical information, d e m o g r a p h i c s , n e w technology, s o c i o e c o n o m i c analysis, a n d political discourse shows that in t h e n e w millennium t h e church will c o n t i n u e to b e highly diverse a n d pluralistic. A n e w c h a p t e r in t h e history of Christianity in t h e U n i t e d States is being written; a n d it suggests t h a t t h e h o m o g e n e o u s , traditional w o r s h i p of t h e previous c e n t u r y is increasingly b e c o m i n g a n exception to t h e n o r m . Delivering a message in such a multicultural, pluralistic context may trigger s o m e anxiety in the faithful preacher. Cultural proficiency and tension over inclusion and exclusion, semantics, and theological and doctrinal inter­ pretation are a m o n g t h e factors that contribute to the preacher's anxiety. In p r e p a r i n g a s e r m o n for a multicultural c o m m u n i t y , p r e a c h e r s m u s t b e fully aware of "internal cultural differences." Eric Law explains t h a t t h e s e internal cultural differences go b e y o n d w h a t can b e seen, heard,
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smelled, o r t o u c h e d . "It is m o r e a m a t t e r of p e r c e p t i o n a n d feelings. T h e s a m e e v e n t m a y b e perceived very differently by t w o culturally different p e r s o n s b e c a u s e t h e t w o different internal cultures highlight different p a r t s of t h e s a m e incident."
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S o m e m o n t h s ago, I p r e a c h e d at a multicultural e v e n t in Georgia. It was very interesting to h e a r t h e feedback from t h e p e o p l e . A Latino w o m a n told m e she found my s e r m o n very uplifting, observing, "I felt affirmed in m y faith a n d in my culture." A w h i t e m a n said h e appreciated t h e risk I t o o k in m y s e r m o n . "Today," h e said, "you challenged m y faith a n d my culture." Both individuals h e a r d t h e s a m e s e r m o n b u t clearly perceived its message in different ways. As i m p o r t a n t as awareness of cultural differences is, t h e p r e a c h e r n e e d s to r e m e m b e r t h a t "the world of faith is created n o t w h e n we j a m theological p r o p o s i t i o n s d o w n a n o t h e r ' s throat. Faithful p e o p l e are created w h e n we h e a r t h e voice of Jesus calling o u r n a m e s . " O n e of t h e greatest gifts of t h e Wesleyan tradition is t h e u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h a t o u r theological task is n o t only t o s t r e n g t h e n h u m a n r e a s o n i n g b u t also to n u r t u r e experi­ ences a n d relationships, o u r rich history a n d traditions, a n d t h e p o w e r of t h e biblical text. Preaching in a multicultural setting provides ample oppor­ tunity to deploy this gift. It is a u n i q u e way in w h i c h p r e a c h e r a n d congre­ gation m a k e t h e o l o g y together. T h e c o n g r e g a t i o n takes o w n e r s h i p of w h a t it is h e a r i n g in a m o r e active m a n n e r by i n q u i r i n g a n d searching t h e i r souls for t h e t r u t h s s p o k e n from t h e pulpit.
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Preaching in t h e m i d s t of a n o t h e r culture follows closely t h e e t i q u e t t e of c o n t e m p o r a r y preaching, w h i c h e m p h a s i z e s that the sermon ought to be contextual and never generic. The preacher needs (a) to interpret the situation of the congregation from the standpoint of the gospel, (b) find a form or genre of preaching that is congenial to the theolog­ ical claim and orientation of the preacher and the community, and (c) that gives the sermon a good opportunity to fulfill its purpose.
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Perhaps m o r e t h a n in a n y o t h e r context for preaching, homiletics in multicultural p r e a c h i n g strongly appeals t o t h e imagination. Creativity is certainly a jewelry box waiting t o b e o p e n e d . All we n e e d to d o is take a close look at o u r e n v i r o n m e n t a n d at t h e multiple resources we can find for o u r s e r m o n in disciplines s u c h as anthropology, ecology, archeology,

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ethnography, to n a m e a few. T h e ever-learning p r e a c h e r m u s t m o v e b e y o n d t h e comfort z o n e of his or h e r field of expertise to o t h e r sciences a n d arts. Preaching has a didactic c o m p o n e n t . Therefore, creativity in preaching a t t e m p t s successfully to appeal t o t h e multiple intelligences of t h e learner regardless of his o r h e r race, ethnicity, a n d physical abilities. A s a m a t t e r of fact, t h e w h o l e w o r s h i p e x p e r i e n c e should i n c o r p o r a t e as m a n y e l e m e n t s as possible in order to instill an unforgettable lesson t h r o u g h their imprint o n t h e worshiper's soul. As long as they d o not subvert t h e integrity of t h e message, s p o n t a n e i t y and freedom in t h e pulpit are additional gifts in multicultural preaching. The preacher m u s t remain very cautious w i t h t h e language a n d / o r nonverbal expressions he o r s h e deploys. Language, as p a r t of "perhaps t h e m o s t spec­ tacular integrative processing t h a t engages body, m i n d a n d emotion,"
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provides t h e preacher with a u n i q u e o p p o r t u n i t y to t o u c h t h e h u m a n soul, Eunjoo M a r y Kim, in Preaching in the Presence of God, e x p a n d s this concept w h e n she asserts t h a t "through language, reality is re-presented, n e w m e a n i n g is created, a n d t h e power a n d presence of G o d are realized."
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Preaching is n o t passive b u t interactive. It leads t o a crossroad w h e r e multiple parties meet. People, preacher, God, history, culture, c u r r e n t events, values, n o r m s , traditions, past regrets, o p e n w o u n d s , future dreams—all intersect in a transformative chaos. In this chaos, t h e preacher b e c o m e s an i n s t r u m e n t of the Spirit guiding t h e c o m m u n i t y toward a life-giving spiritual path. In a multicultural setting t h e energy s u r r o u n d i n g t h e p r e a c h e d Word is almost electric, discharging e n o u g h "voltage" to illuminate t h e spirit t h a t seeks and wants to b e enlightened.

Dancing with the Word
O n e of t h e m o s t precious blessings of t h e homiletical task in a multicultural e n v i r o n m e n t is the e n c o u n t e r of G o d ' s people with G o d ' s Word, Regardless of b a c k g r o u n d and language, a special m o v e m e n t , w h i c h s e e m s to gather individuals into o n e family, h a p p e n s w h e n t h e Word is faithfully preached. Then, ordinary listening b e c o m e s corporate holy listening w h e r e o n e can almost hear the whispers of t h e Holy Spirit. Preaching in a multicultural setting is like a d a n c e . You d o n o t n e e d to k n o w t h e steps; all y o u n e e d is to follow t h e r h y t h m of t h e m u s i c a n d feel in y o u r b o d y t h e e n e r g y c o m i n g from t h e vibrations of t h e d a n c e floor. In t h e d a n c e of multicultural preaching w e are invited to begin w i t h

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t h e familiar, w i t h t h a t w h i c h e v e r y o n e can relate to—the front-page news, t h e story of a well-known figure in t h e c o m m u n i t y , t h e weather, a n d t h e like. Even a c o m m e n t a b o u t an object in t h e sanctuary, s u c h as a stainedglass window, t h e baptismal font, t h e altar, o r t h e cross m a y p r o m p t a n o p p o r t u n i t y for establishing rapport. T h e familiar h e l p s b o t h t h e p r e a c h e r a n d his o r h e r d a n c i n g p a r t n e r to release t h e anxiety of t h a t first m o m e n t . It helps to set an a t m o s p h e r e of hospitality a n d mutuality. In his visit to A t h e n s , Paul provides a great e x a m p l e for captivating an audience's a t t e n t i o n a n d for m a k i n g t h e initial c o n n e c t i o n . H e addresses t h e c o m m u n i t y w i t h g e n u i n e interest a n d praise, observing, "Athenians, I see h o w extremely religious y o u are in every way. For as I w e n t t h r o u g h t h e city a n d looked carefully at t h e objects of y o u r worship, I found a m o n g t h e m a n altar w i t h t h e inscription, 'To an u n k n o w n god.' W h a t therefore y o u w o r s h i p as u n k n o w n , this I proclaim t o you" (Acts 17:22-23). T h e next step in t h e homiletical d a n c e is to m o v e from familiar t o m o r e complicated material, g u i d e d all along by excellent h e r m e n e u t i c a l work. In a multicultural setting, while recognizing a n d affirming diversity, t h e message nevertheless s h o u l d always b r i n g w o r s h i p e r s t o g e t h e r in a concrete c o n n e c t i o n . It should s u m m o n listeners to b e c o m e t h e visible b o d y of Christ in t h e c o m m u n i t y a n d in t h e world. Through t h e d a n c e w i t h t h e Word w e a t t e m p t gracefully to move t h e dancer from stagnation to action, from indifference t o caring, from unbelief to faith. In o t h e r words, it is a d a n c e t h a t moves p e o p l e from sending a check t o Habitat for H u m a n i t y t o actually b e i n g involved in building s u c h a h o u s e in a Latino barrio. T h e d a n c e gently b u t firmly t u r n s people around, from occasionally including a Korean h y m n d u r i n g w o r s h i p to intentionally developing a multilingual worship service. Perhaps it swings dancers from a casual conversation a b o u t sexual o r i e n t a t i o n to an engaging, discerning Bible study a b o u t homosexuality. A n o t h e r way of describing multicultural preaching is to call it a vehicle for t h e reign of G o d in our midst, with all its m a n y colors and hues. Multicultural preaching m u s t always have a n invitation: To believe for those that do not believe, To love for those that do not love, To dream for those that do not dream, Until that which we wait for becomes a reality.
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T h e homiletical task in a multicultural setting c o m p e l s us to b r e a k d o w n barriers and to confront a n d dismantle t h e "isms" t h a t o b s t r u c t o u r p a t h toward justice a n d p e a c e . T h e p r e a c h e d Word m a y serve as a m a p of t h e K i n g d o m t h a t helps p e o p l e to identify t h e various sources of healing, joy, restoration, reconciliation, a n d s t r e n g t h in t h e Christian journey. It will also h e l p t h e m to recognize t h e d e a d e n d s a n d d a n g e r o u s alleys of hypocrisy a n d bigotry. For preachers, a multicultural location affords t h e o p p o r t u n i t y to take t h e scenic road toward G o d ' s reign, w e r e t h e imagina­ tion is abruptly inspired a n d t h e intellect pleasantly disturbed.

Guiding Theological Principles
O n F e b r u a r y 2 8 , 2 0 0 2 , 1 participated in t h e twenty-fifth anniversary of t h e Multiethnic C e n t e r of t h e N o r t h e a s t Jurisdiction. I was assigned t h e t h e m e "Theological Perspectives o n Race a n d Ethnicity for t h e 21st C e n t u r y " a n d asked to provide a theological overview of race, ethnicity, a n d multiculturalism for t h e c o n t e m p o r a r y church. In m y presentation, I stated that multiculturalism is f o u n d e d o n t h r e e theological constructs: hospitality, mutuality, a n d h o p e . These c o n s t r u c t s celebrate o u r rich diversity, a u t h e n t i c a t e o u r c o n n e c t e d n e s s w i t h o n e another, a n d recognize G o d ' s extravagant grace toward all of us. T h e s e s a m e constructs can serve as theological guiding principles in preaching in t h e m i d s t of a n o t h e r culture.

Hospitality
Multiculturalism is rooted deeply in hospitality—in welcoming t h e stranger a n d t h e foreigner in our midst. The Apostle Paul tells t h e Ephesians, "So t h e n you are n o longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with t h e saints and also m e m b e r s of t h e h o u s e h o l d of God" (Eph. 2:19). In t h e words of E u g e n e Peterson, "You are n o longer w a n d e r i n g exiles. This k i n g d o m of faith is n o w your h o m e country. You are n o longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here." These powerful s t a t e m e n t s guide t h e preacher in a multicul­ tural community. They can have a t r e m e n d o u s impact o n t h e life of t h e recip­ ient of t h e Word. They can b e heard as life-giving a n d life-transforming.
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To practice hospitality is to follow t h e m o d e l Jesus set for us in t h e u p p e r r o o m . H e shared himself w i t h all t h o s e g a t h e r e d a r o u n d t h e table, In t h e m y s t e r y of G o d ' s grace, this table t r a n s c e n d s time, welcoming p e r s o n s of all ages, cultures, a n d languages to t h e paschal meal.

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G r o w i n g up, even t h o u g h m y family was very small—mom, dad, m y y o u n g e r brother, a n d me—I always e x p e r i e n c e d d i n n e r as a special time. T h e pot of rice a n d b e a n s was always big. I n d e e d , o u r table was always ready to a c c o m m o d a t e b o t h invited a n d u n e x p e c t e d guests. It was a r o u n d t h e table, a m i d s t t h e s h a r i n g of stories a n d n o u r i s h m e n t , t h a t I often w i t n e s s e d t h e slow transformation of strangers into friends. N e w friends left t h e h o u s e satisfied w i t h m y m o t h e r ' s or father's c o o k i n g a n d carrying a b a g of g o o d i e s for t h e road. Paul e n c o u r a g e d t h e church in R o m e to practice "hospitality to strangers" as o n e of t h e disciplines of t h e n e w Christian c o m m u n i t y (Rom. 12:13). Gentiles a n d Jews, m e n a n d w o m e n w e r e invited to develop a n e w set of values while dismantling t h e practices t h a t failed to p r o m o t e a s e n s e of unity as followers of Christ. As a guiding principle for p r e a c h i n g amidst different cultures, t h e prac­ tice of hospitality has t w o expectations: first, w e l c o m e all into t h e h o u s e ­ hold of G o d ; s e c o n d , s e n d n e w friends h o m e w i t h a "bag of goodies" t o share with o t h e r s o n t h e road.

Mutuality
T h e s e c o n d guiding principle is mutuality. "Mutualism" is t h e belief t h a t m u t u a l d e p e n d e n c e is a n essential underlying factor in attaining social well-being. It suggests a c o m m o n interest t h a t b i n d s p e o p l e together. In his letter to t h e R o m a n s , Paul invites t h e believers t o b e mutually e n c o u r a g e d by o n e a n o t h e r ' s faith (1:12). This is precisely w h a t t h e p r e a c h e r in a multi­ cultural setting expects his o r her message to do—to e n c o u r a g e a n d c h e e r u p o n e a n o t h e r in Christ's love. The p r e a c h e r invites p e o p l e to b e in relationships in w h i c h p e r s o n s are accepted for w h o t h e y are a n d in w h i c h e v e r y o n e is treated w i t h dignity, respect, a n d compassion. This is by n o m e a n s a novel idea; indeed, it is an ancient gospel c o m m a n d m e n t : "'You shall love t h e Lord y o u r G o d w i t h all y o u r heart, a n d w i t h all y o u r soul, a n d w i t h all y o u r m i n d . ' . . , 'You shall love your n e i g h b o r as yourself" (Matt. 22:37, 39). If o n e p e r s o n in t h e relationship abuses, o p p r e s s e s , or d o m i n a t e s t h e other, mutuality is lost, t h e c o m m a n d m e n t is broken, a n d t h e social wellb e i n g of t h o s e in t h e relationship is fractured. In t h e a b s e n c e of mutuality, only o n e p e r s o n in t h e relationship benefits. It is i m p o r t a n t for t h e p r e a c h e r to b e c o g n i z a n t of his o r h e r position

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of power a n d privilege in t h e pulpit. H e o r she has t h e p o w e r to p r e a c h t h e gospel a n d t h e privilege to serve as G o d ' s i n s t r u m e n t in delivering a message. To a b u s e this p o w e r a n d privilege w o u l d b e sinful. Mutuality calls for humility and holy listening o n t h e p a r t of t h e preacher.

Hope
T h e third guiding principle in p r e a c h i n g a m i d s t different cultures is h o p e . T h r o u g h h o p e , t h e believer learns to rely w i t h confidence o n G o d ' s grace. For multiethnic a n d multicultural c o m m u n i t i e s , particularly, h o p e is r o o t e d in t h e reign of G o d . Bishop Paruga's h y m n Tenemos Esperanza ("We have hope") powerfully captures t h e e s s e n c e of living h o p e . H e writes, Because Christ came to enter into our journey, because he broke the silence of our sorrows, because he filled the whole world with his glory, and came to light the darkness of our morrows. Because he came a stranger, poor and lowly. Because he lived, proclaimed love and healing, Because he opened hearts of hungry people, And brought life to all who would receive it. In hope we are forever celebrating, With courage in our struggle we are waiting, In trust and reassurance we are claiming. This is our song of freedom for all people. In hope we are forever celebrating With courage in our struggles we are waiting, In trust and assurance we are claiming this is our song.
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English trans, 0 1979 G e n e r a l Board oi Global Ministries, G H G M u s i k . U s e d b y p e r m i s s i o n .

The incarnate Christ, b e c o m i n g o n e of us, experiencing rejection, exile, pain, and suffering, is t h e midwife of endless h o p e . There is n o d o u b t that t h e m e m b e r s of a multicultural c o m m u n i t y will n o t b e blinded by shallow optimism or demoralized by fatalism. But t h e y will live by an enlivened h o p e that does not let t h e m down. As Paul says to t h e R o m a n church, " H o p e d o e s not disappoint us, b e c a u s e G o d ' s love has b e e n p o u r e d o u t into o u r h e a r t s t h r o u g h t h e Holy Spirit t h a t has b e e n given t o us" (Rom. 5:5).

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Jesus was b o r n , raised, a n d n u r t u r e d in a multicultural world of Jews, Romans, a n d m a n y o t h e r e t h n i c g r o u p s desperately w a n t i n g to preserve their heritage in a rapidly c h a n g i n g society. Jesus' p r e a c h i n g challenged t h o s e w h o w a n t e d to r e m a i n h o m o g e n e o u s a n d exclusive. H i s e x a m p l e is o n e we are invited t o follow. The day of Pentecost provides a n o t h e r e x a m p l e of multicultural preaching. S t e p h e n R h o d e s wisely affirms t h a t "the miracle of t h e first Pentecost was n o t just t h a t p e o p l e could proclaim t h e g o o d n e w s of salva­ tion in o t h e r tongues, b u t t h a t in their diversity of languages, t h r o u g h t h e p o w e r of G o d ' s Spirit, t h e y u n d e r s t o o d o n e a n o t h e r . "
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Invitation
A colleague of m i n e o n c e observed, "We all p r e a c h in t h e m i d s t of culture." T h e effective p r e a c h e r in t h e twenty-first c e n t u r y is invited to b e fully aware of a n d to recognize t h e extraordinary diversity of today's church. A congregation m a y a p p e a r h o m o g e n e o u s , b u t t h e c o n t e x t in which it lives a n d d o e s its mission is not. Faith is at t h e h e a r t of preaching in a multicultural community—that faith described by t h e a u t h o r of t h e Letter t o t h e H e b r e w s as "the assurance of things h o p e d for, t h e conviction of things n o t seen" (11:1). Thus, t h e effec­ tive preacher also will boldly trust t h a t t h e Holy Spirit will inspire, guide, a n d a n o i n t t h e message G o d has conceived in t h e preacher's m i n d a n d soul. Prayer, prayer, a n d m o r e prayer will aid t h e preacher to use effectively t h e great variety of resources available for responsible s e r m o n preparation. Preaching in a multicultural c o m m u n i t y e n c o u r a g e s t h e congregation a n d t h e p r e a c h e r to claim their role as t h e b o d y of Christ, w i t h its multiple m e m b e r s a n d diversity of gifts. Preaching in t h e m i d s t of a diverse a n d pluralistic c o m m u n i t y is deeply spiritual a n d always aims to bring h o p e w i t h life-giving words. A r e y o u r e a d y for this exciting task?

Aida Irizarry-Fernandez is Superintendent of the Metropolitan Boston District of the New England Annual Conference in Boston, Massachussetts.

Endnotes
1. Frank G. Honeycutt, Preaching to Skeptics and Seekers (Nashville: Abingdon, 2001), 25.

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2. Eric H, F. Law, The Wolf Shall Dwell with the Lamb: A Spirituality for Leadership in a Multicultural Community (Saint Louis: Chalice, 1993), 7. 3. Ibid. 4. Honeycutt, Preaching to Skeptics and Seekers, 29. 5. Ronald J. Allen, Patterns of Preaching (Saint Louis: Chalice, 1998), xii. 6. Howard Gardner, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligence (New York: Basic Books, 1983). Gardner's theory has helped the integration of skill and knowledge in t h e classroom. According to Gardner, a p e r s o n uses the following intelligence in their learning developmental process: logical/mathe­ matical, linguistic, visual/spatial, bodily kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. 7. Smart Moves is a fascinating book about ways people can learn to use both their cognition and their b o d i e s . See Carla Hannaford, Smart Moves: Why Learning Is Not All in Your Head (Virginia: Great Ocean Publishers, 1995), 88, 8. See Eunjoo Mary Kim, Preaching in the Presence of God: A Homiletic from an Asian American Perspective (Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press, 1999), 129. 9. See the "Hispanic Creed" by Justo Gonzalez in the Spanish hymnal, Mil Voces Para Celebrar (Nashville: The United Methodist Publishing House, 1996), 70, This widely used creed is a powerful affirmation of faith founded in t h e notion of humanity as a highly heterogenous community. 10. E u g e n e Peterson, The Message: New Testament (Colorado Springs, CO: Navpress, 1998), 407. 11. In Global Praise I (New York: The General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church, 1996), 59. The General Board of Global Ministries, GBGMusik, The United Methodist Church, 475 Riverside Drive, N e w York, NY 10115. 12. Stephen A. Rhodes, Where the Nations Meet: The Church in a Multicultural World (Downers Grove, 111: InterVarsity Press, 1998), 65.

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EBEN K. NHIWATIWA

reaching is o n e of t h e ministries of t h e Christian c h u r c h t h a t has regu­ larly received piercing jabs from critics w i t h i n a n d o u t s i d e t h e c o m m u ­ nity of believers. Thus, it is a p p r o p r i a t e t h a t at t h e c u s p of t h e twenty-first c e n t u r y w e assess w h e r e w e are a n d w h e r e w e n e e d t o go in regard t o t h e church's p r e a c h i n g task. Today's p r e a c h e r faces a m u l t i t u d e of q u e s t i o n s . O n e key q u e s t i o n is this: H o w d o I p r e a c h in a way t h a t truly c o n n e c t s w i t h twenty-first-century hearers? In this essay, I b r o a c h this q u e s t i o n by e x a m i n i n g selected trajec­ tories t h a t are likely t o c o n t i n u e t o influence t h e range a n d scope of preaching. T h e t h r u s t of t h e article is t h a t p r e a c h i n g in t h e twenty-first c e n t u r y m u s t a t t e n d to several critical areas: sensitivity to t h e context in w h i c h t h e gospel is preached, t h e message, t h e identity a n d place of t h e preacher, t h e hearer, a n d t h e c o m m u n i c a t i o n of t h e gospel. M y a p p r o a c h is to dialogue with Western homileticians and interweave t h e African perspective as t h e discourse progresses. To talk w i t h o u t a disclaimer a b o u t an African perspective is p r e s u m p t u o u s . Africa is a conti­ n e n t with a diversity of peoples a n d cultures. T h e expansive territorial space a n d t h e intricate m a z e of c u s t o m s a n d traditions defy a n y a t t e m p t t o view t h e continent t h r o u g h monolithic lenses. Of course, this d o e s n o t m e a n a wholesale rejection of t h e existence of similarities that cut across nations and form t h e core s u b s t a n c e of singular, c o m m o n g r o u n d for t h e African people. Yet, for t h e p u r p o s e of this essay, I focus primarily, t h o u g h n o t exclusively, o n preaching experiences in Zimbabwe.

P

A Working Definition
A l t h o u g h t h e r e is n o single definition of preaching, it is i m p o r t a n t to have s o m e idea a b o u t w h a t o n e thinks is h a p p e n i n g w h e n called u p o n to preach. Definitions of preaching are in themselves significant tools in t h e study a n d

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practice of preaching. In his Lyman Beecher lectures at Yale University in 1877, Phillips Brooks coined w h a t is surely t h e m o s t frequently cited defini­ tion of preaching. Preaching is the communication of truth by man to men [sic]. It has in it two essential elements, truth and personality. Neither of these can it spare and still be preaching. The truest truth, the most authoritative statement of God's will, communicated in any other way than through the personality of brother man to men is not preached truth.
1

T h e habit of viewing p r e a c h i n g as essentially c o m m u n i c a t i o n h a s gained m o m e n t u m t h r o u g h t h e years. For t h e African context, t h e idea t h a t preaching is sifted t h r o u g h t h e preacher's personality is m o s t appealing. The character of t h e preacher is reflected as a sine qua non vari­ able in t h e preaching event. A n o t h e r helpful definition that r e s o n a t e s well w i t h African e x p e r i e n c e c o m e s from J.I. Packer. Packer defines p r e a c h i n g as "incarnational c o m m u ­ nication from God, prophetic, persuasive a n d powerful—that is, power-full." Preaching is p r o p h e t i c in t h a t t h e words of t h e p r e a c h e r "must carry t h e w o r d of t h e G o d w h o speaks." Further, p r e a c h i n g is persuasive in t h a t t h e aim is to w i n disciples for Jesus Christ, Finally, p r e a c h i n g is power-full b e c a u s e t h e r e is a close-knit relationship b e t w e e n t h e w o r d of G o d a n d t h e Holy Spirit. It is t h e H o l y Spirit t h a t m a k e s t h e w o r d pierce t h e h e a r t s of t h e h e a r e r s . A n y definition of p r e a c h i n g t h a t takes a c c o u n t of t h e p r e a c h e r as prophet, w h o s e role is t o preach "power-full" a n d persuasive s e r m o n s u n d e r t h e inspiration of t h e Holy Spirit, will b e positively received b o t h by t h e African p r e a c h e r a n d by t h e hearers of t h e gospel. T h e s e t w o definitions are n o t exhaustive, b u t t h e y are a d e q u a t e as a starting p o i n t for t h e p u r p o s e of this essay.
3 2

Contextual Preaching
Twenty-first-century preachers will b e called u p o n to c o n t i n u e to search a n d n a m e t h e prevailing contexts in w h i c h t h e gospel is to b e preached. Such contexts can b e viewed at t w o levels. First is t h e global level, in which h u m a n beings, by virtue of their creatureliness, e x p e r i e n c e fears, anxiety, despair, joy, peace, and happiness, irrespective of t h e particularities of t h e causes of such feelings a n d experiences. It is i m p o r t a n t for p r e a c h e r s to

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r e m e m b e r t h e global n a t u r e of preaching. It is a n exercise in myopia w h e n homileticians u r g e p r e a c h e r s to k n o w their i m m e d i a t e contexts at t h e e x p e n s e of global awareness. T h e gospel is inherently universal; o t h e r w i s e it would have b e e n impossible to p r e a c h Jesus C h r i s t o u t s i d e t h e geograph­ ical and cultural b o r d e r s of Palestine. T h e s e c o n d contextual level of w h i c h t h e p r e a c h e r s h o u l d b e aware is t h e local level—the nitty-gritty of a given culture. C o n t e x t u a l p r e a c h i n g requires t h a t t h e preacher, t h e message, t h e ways a n d m e a n s of c o m m u n i c a t i n g t h e gospel, a n d t h e p e r s o n in t h e p e w all b e c o n s i d e r e d w i t h i n specific contexts. In attempting to chart t h e way for preaching in t h e twenty-first century, we n e e d to u n d e r s t a n d o u r context in t h e n e w century, albeit less t h a n a decade old. A s early as 1930, Carl Wallace Petty characterized t h e hearers of t h e gospel of his time as a "tough-minded generation," w h o s e preoccupation was t h e search for wealth. W h a t excited his generation was technological advancement, a n c h o r e d in t h e belief in t h e power of education for personal r e d e m p t i o n . While there is a vast difference b e t w e e n technological advance­ m e n t in t h e 1930s and today, t h e fact still holds that technology is having t h e d o m i n a n t impact o n people's lives, especially in t h e developed countries.
4

Years later, J o h n Stott would acknowledge t h e difficulty in trying t o imagine w h a t t h e world w o u l d look like in t h e year 2000. H e predicted t h a t c o m p u t e r s w o u l d likely b e as c o m m o n as calculators w e r e at t h e time of his prognostications. Stott stated, We should certainly welcome the fact that the silicon chip will transcend human brain-power... . Much less welcome will be the probable reduction of human contact as the new electronic network renders personal relationships ever less necessary. In such a dehumanised society the fellowship of the local church will become increasingly important, whose members meet one another, and talk and listen to one another in person rather than on screen,
5

Stott e v e n p o s t u l a t e d t h a t this person-to-person c o n t a c t in c o m m u n i ­ cating t h e gospel in a n a t m o s p h e r e of "mutual love, s p e a k i n g a n d h e a r i n g of t h e word of G o d is likely t o b e c o m e m o r e n e c e s s a r y for t h e preservation of o u r h u m a n n e s s , n o t less."
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The African scenario is still s p a r e d a n u m b e r of t h e vicissitudes b e i n g e x p e r i e n c e d in t h e West as a result of t h e E n l i g h t e n m e n t a n d technological a d v a n c e m e n t . Africans are o n t h e receiving e n d of t h e fruits of these

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e p o c h s in h u m a n history rather t h a n equal participants in t h e m . C o n s e ­ quently, t h e w i d e s p r e a d secularism and t h e resultant decrease in church m e m b e r s h i p in s o m e mainline d e n o m i n a t i o n s are n o t yet c o m m o n experi­ e n c e s in African societies. There is n o vocal challenge to p r e a c h i n g or to t h e role of Christianity in general. F e w African p r e a c h e r s intentionally try to address t h e issue of h o w preaching should b e d o n e in this o r t h a t era. It is n o t t h a t preaching is at its b e s t in t h e African churches; rather, t h e envi­ r o n m e n t is still conducive to t h e p r o c l a m a t i o n of t h e gospel. S o m e of t h e issues n o w b e i n g voiced a b o u t p r e a c h i n g w i t h i n t h e W e s t e r n context are a n a t h e m a in m o s t African societies. Take, for instance, David C. N o r r i n g t o n ' s expression of disdain for t h e position of t h e p r e a c h e r a n d t h e s e r m o n : "By using t h e regular s e r m o n , t h e p r e a c h e r proclaims each week, n o t in words, b u t in t h e clearest m a n n e r possible, that, b e t h e congregation n e v e r so gifted, t h e r e is present, for t h a t period, o n e w h o is m o r e gifted and all m u s t a t t e n d in silence u p o n h i m (less often her)." The rest of N o r r i n g t o n ' s b o o k argues for t h e substitution of p r e a c h i n g with o t h e r forms of ministries, s u c h as Bible s t u d y a n d g r o u p m e e t i n g s to e n h a n c e c o m m u n i t i e s . With rare exceptions, if any, t h e African p r e a c h e r still enjoys pulpit bliss w i t h all t h e s u p p o r t o n e could e x p e c t from t h e congregants.
7

While t h e context of t h e Western preacher can n o w b e described as "postmodern," m a n y Africans in rural areas have yet to see a n electric bulb. Postmodernism, we are told, has n o regard for universal knowledge a n d claims to absolute truth, b e it in religion or in any o t h e r sector of h u m a n experience. Knowledge consists of sets of propositions t h a t o n e could e s p o u s e or reject d e p e n d i n g o n t h e c u r r e n t m o o d . But is it advisable a n d wise for African preachers to be complacent a n d regard t h e rise of secu­ larism in t h e West as r e m o t e to their o w n context? In their b o o k Secularism in Africa: A Case Study: Nairobi City, Aylward Shorter a n d E d w i n O n y a n c h a raise a w o r d of caution for t h e African preacher. T h e s t u d y calls for a reassessment of t h e widely held conviction that Africans are wholly reli­ gious in all aspects of life. Shorter a n d O n y a n c h a refer to Pope J o h n Paul II's observation that there is a hovering threat of secularism over t h e h o r i z o n of t h e African continent. In summary, secularism "refers to a situation in which religious faith for o n e reason or a n o t h e r is felt to b e superfluous."
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There are signs that u r b a n residents in Africa are beginning to a d o p t Western lifestyles. N o t only are there seeds of secularism in t h e religious

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soil of c o n t e m p o r a r y Africa b u t also e m e r g i n g forms of individualism a n d sheer greed. W h a t d o e s o n e m a k e of a s t o r y that a p p e a r e d in a governmento w n e d n e w s p a p e r in Z i m b a b w e , titled, "Mortician arrested for stealing corpses to p u r c h a s e fuel"? Z i m b a b w e is going t h r o u g h a p e r i o d of excruci­ ating e c o n o m i c hardships resulting in t h e scarcity of basic commodities, w i t h fuel shortages being t h e m o s t p r o m i n e n t . T h e significance of this story for African preaching, especially in Z i m b a b w e , is t h a t t h e sanctity of h u m a n life is readily being flaunted. African cultures have never q u e s t i o n e d t h e intrinsic value of t h e h u m a n being. W h e n Africans read t h a t h u m a n beings are created in G o d ' s image, it merely confirms their high regard for t h e value of h u m a n life. N o t w i t h s t a n d i n g t h e political oppression and ill treat­ m e n t of citizens o n t h e continent, t h e African, s t e e p e d in traditional social a n d religious values, is taught to treat other beings with dignity and respect. Indeed, this respect is e x t e n d e d unreservedly to t h e dead.
10

Thus, t h e twenty-first c e n t u r y m a y m a r k a w a t e r s h e d in African preaching, n o t in t e r m s of a p a r a d i g m shift in t h e way Africans are regarded as i n h e r e n t l y religious b u t rather in t e r m s of a d e e p e r awareness of context. In t h e n e w century, contextual p r e a c h i n g will c o n t i n u e to call u p o n preachers in all cultures to b e c o g n i z a n t of b o t h their global a n d t h e i r i m m e d i a t e s u r r o u n d i n g s . In u n d e r s t a n d i n g his or h e r culture, t h o u g h , t h e p r e a c h e r should b e conscious of t h e pitfall of glorifying t h e hearer's culture. T h e African p r e a c h e r m u s t b e c o n s t a n t l y aware of this temptation. Instead, contextual p r e a c h i n g s h o u l d give t h e p r e a c h e r t h e o p p o r t u n i t y u n c o m p r o m i s i n g l y to address t h o s e cultural traits t h a t are overtly c o n t r a r y t o t h e texture a n d t e n o r of t h e gospel.

Message
A n y o n e familiar w i t h b o o k s o n p r e a c h i n g h a s p r o b a b l y noticed a p r e p o n ­ d e r a n c e of focus o n t h e method of c o m m u n i c a t i n g t h e m e s s a g e instead of o n its content. In as m u c h as homileticians b e c o m e innovative in ways of sharing t h e gospel, a balance should b e struck s o t h a t t h e c o n t e n t of t h e message is n o t relegated t o t h e periphery. A s o n e a u t h o r p u t it, "For s o m e p r e a c h e r s . . . fads in c o m m u n i c a t i o n b e c o m e m o r e stimulating t h a n t h e message." In assessing Wesley's preaching, Richard H e i t z e n r a t e r n o t e s t h a t "Wesley's ability to g a t h e r a crowd a n d hold their a t t e n t i o n was g r o u n d e d in w h a t h e said, rather t h a n h o w h e said it."
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Of course, a c u r s o r y glance at Wesley's s e r m o n s leaves o n e w i t h a

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feeling t h a t t h e y w e r e "heavy" o n t h e ear. Faith, grace, sanctification, Christian p e r f e c t i o n - t h e s e w e r e not "light" topics. O r take Peter's s e r m o n in Acts 2:14-36. W h o w o u l d dare preach in this way a n d still expect a n enthusiastic r e s p o n s e from twenty-first-century hearers? A n d yet it w a s t h e very stuff of Jesus' d e a t h and resurrection t h a t led Peter's hearers t o respond, "Brothers, w h a t should we do?" (v. 37). S e r m o n analysis shows t h a t Peter used t h e narrative approach, starting from t h e familiar territory of t h e patriarchies a n d p r o c e e d i n g to t h e u n k n o w n factor of t h e crucified messiah. T h e Apostle was conversant w i t h t h e traditional beliefs of his p e o p l e a n d contextualized his message accordingly W h e n all is said a n d d o n e , it was the content, n o t t h e m e t h o d , t h a t m a d e Peter's s e r m o n m e m o ­ rable, even to t h e p r e s e n t day. Time a n d again, Paul w o u l d r e m i n d his hearers t h a t h e h a d only o n e message to preach—Christ, crucified a n d resurrected from t h e dead. Likewise, t h e message of t h e crucified Christ was central to J o h n Wesley's s e r m o n s . O n e of Wesley's c o n t e m p o r a r i e s , J o h a n H e n r i k Liden of t h e University of Uppsala, Sweden, u p o n visiting England in 1769, h a d this t o say a b o u t Wesley's p r e a c h i n g as c o m p a r e d w i t h t h a t of Wesley's fellow English preachers. It is unpardonable that during the blessed Passion Week it never is preached a word about the Suffering of Jesus, but about entirely other subjects. What is this but to be ashamed of the Cross of Jesus which however for ever is the foundation of our salvation? This is the real reason why Mr. Wesley created so great attention by his sermons, because he spoke of a crucified Saviour and faith in his merits—such the people never had heard. Educated people pronounced this doctrine enthusiastic and heretic—just as if not the greatest heresy is to forget Christ.
13

Twenty-first-century p r e a c h e r s could expect to b e confronted w i t h similar attitudes toward t h e gospel. T h e t e m p t a t i o n r e m a i n s t h e same, namely, to neglect to preach Jesus Christ crucified a n d resurrected. In t h e p r o l o g u e t o his b o o k The Preacher: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Word That Moved America, Richard Lischer gives t h e i m p r e s s i o n t h a t it is a m a t t e r of surprise t h a t A m e r i c a n s willingly gave a n ear t o King, w h o s e p o i n t of reference in his s p e e c h e s was overtly Christian. T h e t h r u s t of Lischer's account, a m o n g o t h e r things, is an analysis of t h e rhetorical

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strategies t h a t attracted hearers t o King's oratory. However, early in t h e book, Lischer o b s e r v e s t h a t t h e c o n t e n t of King's m e s s a g e proved equally magnetic. O n t o p of t h e myriad sociopolitical issues raised in t h e s p e e c h e s , King always h a d a "message from a n o t h e r realm—a spiritual s t a n d a r d t h a t informs a n d j u d g e s this world a n d ultimately p r o m i s e s to save it from corruption."
14

O n e could say t h a t t h a t "other realm" was t h e anticipation of

t h e d a w n of a n e w age as e n c a p s u l a t e d in t h e S e r m o n o n t h e M o u n t . A n u p b e a t m e t h o d of rhetoric w i t h o u t a n equally u p b e a t message would n o t have sustained King in his struggle for civil rights. O n t h e o t h e r hand, Steve H a r p e r r e m i n d s p r e a c h e r s of t h e i m p o r t a n c e of a p e r s o n a l c o m m i t m e n t to a n d e x p e r i e n c e of t h e Christian faith. T h e call to p e r s o n a l faith should b e t h e focal p o i n t in preaching. H e p o i n t s o u t t h a t "the m e s s a g e of personal salvation is n o t going forth consistently in t h e C h u r c h mentally h u m a n i s t i c r a t h e r t h a n Christo-centric."
15

Too m a n y

c h u r c h e s have settled into a moralistic view of Christianity t h a t is funda­

Issues Related to the Message
Reference to t h e m e s s a g e has implications for t h e relationship of p r e a c h i n g to t h e w o r d of G o d a n d to t h e h e r m e n e u t i c a l process, as well as for t h e q u e s t i o n of t h e a u t h o r i t y of t h e Bible. First, every p r e a c h e r should take a s t a n d o n w h a t h e o r she under­ s t a n d s by "the Word of God." T h e p r e a c h e d m e s s a g e is intricately related to t h e Word of G o d . In African culture t h e s p o k e n w o r d carries m u c h weight. Until recently, it was viewed as a sign of disrespect to invite relatives to a w e d d i n g by s e n d i n g a card. T h e h o n o r a b l e way is to dispatch t h e invitation by word of m o u t h . For Africans, t h e w o r d has t h e potential t o d o g o o d or t o d o harm, t o heal or t o c o n d e m n . T h e African will c o n c u r with t h e p r o p h e t Ezekiel w h e n h e said, "I t h e L O R D will speak t h e w o r d t h a t I will speak, a n d it will b e performed" (Ezek. 12:25a). According to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, t h e Word of G o d is Jesus Christ. "Christ is n o t only p r e s e n t in t h e w o r d of t h e C h u r c h b u t also as t h e w o r d of t h e Church, i.e., as t h e s p o k e n w o r d of preaching." This is t h e view African p r e a c h e r s and o t h e r s o u g h t to take into t h e pulpit in t h e twenty-first century.
16 17

Second is t h e preacher's u n d e r s t a n d i n g of t h e role a n d place of t h e Bible in t h e p r o c l a m a t i o n of t h e gospel. For t h e African preacher, t h e suffi­ ciency of Scripture—the n o t i o n t h a t t h e Bible c o n t a i n s all t h a t is n e c e s s a r y for h u m a n salvation—is a g i v e n . Africans are n o t yet at a stage w h e r e t h e
18

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Bible's place and a u t h o r i t y are b e i n g q u e s t i o n e d . It causes t h e African p r e a c h e r considerable spiritual anguish to b e informed of t h e "wide chasm" b e t w e e n t h e world of t h e Bible and t h e m o d e r n world, w h i c h p r o m p t s m a n y c o n t e m p o r a r y p r e a c h e r s to shy away from using t h e Bible as t h e a u t h e n t i c a n d authoritative source for p r e a c h i n g , h e says, My observation is that, indeed, the African church regards the Bible as central in its life, overwhelmingly biblical. I have also followed the preaching of some of the independent and charismatic churches in Zimbabwe, and have been equally impressed by their recognition of the centrality of the Bible in the life of their communities.
20 19

Most, if n o t all, African p r e a c h e r s w o u l d agree w i t h J o h n Kurewa w h e n

In a n analysis of s e r m o n s in Z i m b a b w e , I c o n c l u d e d t h a t t h e Bible is t a k e n "as t h e inspired Word of G o d w h i c h is u s e d to validate t h e p o i n t s t h e p r e a c h e r s raise in s e r m o n s , " Twenty-first-century p r e a c h e r s m i g h t d o well to reclaim t h e central role of t h e Bible in preaching.
21

Third are issues of h e r m e n e u t i c s , The p r e a c h e d word should b e t h e p r o d u c t of a multifaceted a p p r o a c h to biblical interpretation; t h a t is, t h e preacher should b e o p e n to a variety of vantage p o i n t s from w h i c h to read and interpret t h e Bible. For example, in discussing a liberation ethic, Bonganjalo G o b a p r o p o s e s an analytical-materialist a p p r o a c h to t h e biblical text. There is n e e d for an "analytical reading of o u r world" as a n e n t r y point to unlocking the m e a n i n g of t h e Bible. T h e interpreter should first "acquire epistemological lenses and c o n c e p t s before we e n c o u n t e r t h e world of t h e Bible analytically." Thus, in t h e search for meaning, t h e preacher m u s t interface h e r or his worldview with that of t h e Bible. Still in t h e paradigm of liberation theology, Diego Irarrazaval raises w h a t h e calls "people's hermeneutics," according to which people read Scripture n o t to interpret t h e text b u t to interpret their lives w i t h t h e aid of t h e Bible. The "meaning" of t h e Bible is m o r e t h a n a m e n t a l concept; "it is also consolation a n d strength felt by t h e heart a n d carried out by 'works' of salvation."
22 23

Standard biblical c o m m e n t a r i e s n o longer w i t h s t a n d t h e scrutiny of a " h e r m e n e u t i c s of suspicion." These c o m m e n t a r i e s a t t e n d t o t h e m e a n i n g of t h e biblical text t h r o u g h form criticism a n d t h e historical-critical m e t h o d b u t at t h e e x p e n s e of u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h e c o m m u n i t y t o w h i c h t h e text is

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addressed. Further, t h e y separate exegesis from expository tasks by assigning different a u t h o r s t o t h e process of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . For t h e African preacher, "biblical interpretation, systematic theology, moral a n d pastoral theology: all s h o u l d b e c o n n e c t e d w i t h t h e actual situation in Africa." Similarly, from t h e perspective of pastoral care, C M . M w i k a m b a n o t e s that, t o b e effective, spiritual leaders a n d African clergy should "inter­ pret and contextualize t h e Bible for b o t h t h e i r p e r s o n a l a n d c o m m u n i t y spiritual e n r i c h m e n t . " Feminist theologians are calling for biblical inter­ p r e t a t i o n free from g e n d e r stereotypes a n d patriarchal images, which limit preaching to seeing t h e world from a male, d o m i n a n t position. "Preaching d o e s n o t only interpret t h e gospel of G o d ' s love," asserts A n n e t t e Noller, "but it also i n t e r p r e t s o u r reality a n d r e c o n s t r u c t s o u r relationships in a n implicit or explicit way."
24 25 26 27

Such a multifaceted h e r m e n e u t i c a l a p p r o a c h is indispensable for effec­ tive preaching in t h e twenty-first century, To t h e African preacher it is t h e message of h o p e n e e d e d to lift t h e h e a r e r o u t of t h e ashes of h o p e l e s s n e s s t h a t has engulfed m o s t of t h e African societies today. T h e effective m e s s a g e speaks of a n o m n i p o t e n t a n d o m n i p r e s e n t G o d able to s u b d u e and over­ c o m e all forms of fear. Last, it is a m e s s a g e t h a t d o e s n o t shy away from preaching Christ crucified a n d resurrected.

The Preacher's Niche
Homiletical c o m p o n e n t s c a n n o t b e e x a m i n e d completely in isolation from o n e another. O n e ' s u n d e r s t a n d i n g of t h e identity of t h e p r e a c h e r m a y b e p r e c o n d i t i o n e d by o n e ' s view of t h e place a n d role of t h e Bible in t h e w h o l e s c h e m e of preaching. Similarly, t h e m e s s a g e a n d m a n n e r of delivery c a n b e influenced b y t h e way t h e p r e a c h e r perceives t h e hearers. In a n y event, t h e preacher's identity and place in t h e p r e a c h i n g event require sustained attention. T h o m a s L o n g has identified various images t h a t have b e e n assigned t o t h e preacher at different t i m e s in history. H e settled o n t h e p r e a c h e r as a witness? A m o n g t h e images h e discussed, however, t h e p r e a c h e r as t h e herald is m o r e g e r m a n e to t h e African p e r c e p t i o n of preaching. The herald speaks w h a t has b e e n given to h i m or her. H e r e t h e African p r e a c h e r a n d h e a r e r identify o n c e m o r e w i t h Ezekiel: "He said t o m e , O mortal, eat w h a t is offered to you; eat this scroll, a n d go, s p e a k to t h e h o u s e of Israel. So I o p e n e d m y m o u t h , a n d h e gave m e t h e scroll to eat" (Ezek. 3:1-2). T h e
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majority of p e o p l e in rural Africa have n o t even h e a r d of c o m p u t e r s or email messages. In s o m e cases, even a t e l e p h o n e is available o n l y to the privileged few. Messages are still passed o n by s e n d i n g s o m e o n e from o n e h u t or village to another. At m o s t gatherings w h e r e information is b e i n g shared, it is c o m m o n to h e a r t h e m e s s e n g e r say, "I have b e e n s e n t by t h e c h i e f . . . " In such a context, t h e preacher m a y appropriately see himself or herself as t h e herald s e n t by G o d to pass o n t h e message. The congregation c o o p e r a t e s by shielding t h e herald from a s e n s e of loneliness in t h e pulpit. Such s u p p o r t of spiritual a n d e m o t i o n a l w a r m t h a n d w e l c o m e to t h e pulpit are usually e x t e n d e d t h r o u g h s o n g a n d prayer. T h e songs a n d prayers implore G o d to give t h e p r e a c h e r t h e message a n d to "hide" his or h e r face from t h e p e o p l e so t h a t only t h e p r e s e n c e of Jesus C h r i s t t h r o u g h t h e p o w e r of t h e Holy Spirit is felt. I r e m e m b e r vividly t h e e x p e r i e n c e I h a d at a M e t h o d i s t Sunday service in D u r b a n , S o u t h Africa. A g r o u p of m e n and w o m e n a c c o m p a n i e d t h e p r e a c h e r from his seat to t h e pulpit amid e x u b e r a n t fanfare in t h e a t m o s p h e r e of worship. With s u c h physical a n d e m o t i o n a l assurance n o p r e a c h e r can afford t h e careless luxury of taking preaching lightly. C o n t r a r y to t h e Western n o t i o n that b e c a u s e t h e preacher is a h u m a n being therefore "[w]hat is at stake . . . is t h e h u m a n i z i n g of preaching," Africans w a n t t h e preacher's h u m a n i t y in t h e pulpit t o give way to t h e divine side of proclaiming t h e gospel. For t h e m , a p r e a c h e r answers to t h e divine calling—indeed, African church m e m b e r s hold t h e idea of a "call" in high regard. To t h e m , t h e fact t h a t a clear u n d e r s t a n d i n g of w h a t constitutes a call can b e illusive at times is inconsequential. Africans will c o n c u r w i t h H e n r y Mitchell's claim that t h e p e r s o n of t h e preacher is r o o t e d in t h e call.
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A n o t h e r issue is t h e character of t h e preacher. To b e sure, African believers acknowledge t h a t t h e p r e a c h e r is "a m a n [ w o m a n ] of their o w n coasts—since t h e preacher is n o t an alien a m o n g t h o s e to w h o m h e or she speaks t h e w o r d of G o d ; h e or she is, indeed, in g e o g r a p h y a n d in condi­ tion o n e of t h o s e to w h o m t h e w o r d is b o r n e , ' o n e of their o w n coasts."' But w h e n it c o m e s t o t h e moral u p r i g h t n e s s of t h e preacher, Africans w o u l d rather have h i m or h e r b e h a v e as if h e or s h e w e r e living o n a n o t h e r p l a n e t a n d were above all m a n n e r of h u m a n frailty. That t h e p r e a c h e r is an e a r t h e n vessel should b e referred to only as a polite expression of humility a n d n o t as an excuse for engaging in immorality. G e o r g e Sweazey p o i n t s o u t t h a t hearers like t h e p r e a c h e r before t h e y like t h e s e r m o n and, c o n s e 31

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quently, "the e m o t i o n a l r e s p o n s e to a s e r m o n is closely c o n n e c t e d w i t h t h e e m o t i o n a l r e s p o n s e to t h e p r e a c h e r . " Bishop Abel M u z o r e w a indirectly referred to t h e centrality of t h e character of t h e p r e a c h e r in this c o m m e n t a b o u t his father: "My father's d e e p religious convictions, a n d t h e irre­ proachable life in w h i c h h e lived o u t w h a t h e p r e a c h e d o n Sundays, left a n indelible impression u p o n m e . "
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For t h e African preacher, a n d hopefully elsewhere, hearers of t h e gospel will c o n t i n u e t o expect their p r e a c h e r s to live w h a t t h e y preach. In this s e n s e t h e saying t h a t t h e " m e d i u m is t h e message" r e m a i n s t r u e for t h e preacher in t h e n e w century. Christians are privileged to expect their p r e a c h e r s to e n t e r into moral c o v e n a n t s of trust w i t h t h e m . As o u r soci­ eties b e c o m e increasingly secular, t h e d e m a n d will g r o w for preachers to live exemplary lives.

Enter the Hearer
At t h e c e n t e r of any homiletical t h o u g h t is t h e hearer. M u c h of t h e criti­ cism b e i n g leveled against p r e a c h i n g h a s t o d o w i t h perceived barriers t h a t prevent clear c o m m u n i c a t i o n a n d total c o n n e c t i o n b e t w e e n pulpit a n d pew. However, t h e r e are e n c o u r a g i n g t r e n d s in w h i c h t h e position of t h e hearer takes c e n t e r stage. O n e m a y begin by assessing t h e auditory world a n d e n v i r o n m e n t in w h i c h t h e listener finds him- or herself. It is a world in w h i c h t h e g o o d n e w s of t h e gospel t h r e a t e n s t o b e o v e r w h e l m e d by b a d n e w s . The horrific attacks of S e p t e m b e r 11, 2001, c o n t i n u e a litany of inci­ d e n c e s of violence a n d h o r r o r a r o u n d t h e world, raising to n e w levels a s e n s e of fear, d e s p o n d e n c y , a n d insecurity. In Africa, t h e h o p e t h a t t h e e n d of colonial rule w o u l d u s h e r in a n e w p e r i o d of freedom across t h e c o n t i n e n t has b e e n d a s h e d by c o n t i n u e d fighting, war, a n d d i s p l a c e m e n t of people. U n b r i d l e d greed, r a m p a n t corruption, political oppression, disregard of h u m a n dignity, t h e AIDS pandemic—these are n o w integral aspects of life in m o s t African nations. Engelbert Mveng, SJ., poignantly c a p t u r e d this miserable state of affairs w h e n h e n o t e s t h a t Africa t o d a y is "a horrible a n d l a m e n t a b l e battlefield of famine, AIDS, tribal wars a n d g e n o c i d e . " This is t h e c o n t e x t in which t h e p e r s o n in t h e p e w listens t o t h e p r o c l a m a t i o n of t h e g o o d n e w s . T h e chal­ lenge facing b o t h p r e a c h e r a n d c h u r c h in t h e twenty-first c e n t u r y is this: W h i c h n e w s will o v e r c o m e t h e other—the g o o d n e w s o r t h e bad news?
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Preachers a n d hearers n e e d to engage in a p a r t n e r s h i p in which t h e

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preacher hears w h a t t h e people are hearing and t h e people confirm that t h e preacher truly is in touch w i t h their world. M y r o n Chartier has defined active, effective listening in c o m m u n i c a t i o n as the quest for meaning and understanding. More than the physical process of hearing, listening is an intellectual and emotional process in which a person inte­ grates physical, emotional, and intellectual abilities in an active, emphatic search for meaning.
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It is i n c u m b e n t u p o n t h e preacher to r e m e m b e r that t h e hearer will b e searching for meaning b e h i n d all forms of rhetorical strategies. T h e African preacher has b e e n g r o u n d e d in a tradition that d o e s n o t separate t h e actor from t h e audience—for all are participants at different intervals in t h e "play" of preaching. This sense of c o n n e c t e d n e s s b e t w e e n preacher and hearer should b e strengthened. Fred Craddock is right w h e n h e claims that t h e c o n t e m p o r a r y preacher is preaching to a hearer w i t h n u m e r o u s options. N o longer d o hearers accord t h e preacher t h e sole prerogative of t h e authority of the Word and the pulpit. Improved c o m m u n i c a t i o n of the gospel will continue to d e p e n d o n g o o d rapport b e t w e e n preacher a n d hearer.
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Communication through Imagination
W h e n I left Z i m b a b w e for t h e U.S. to p u r s u e further s t u d y an article a b o u t m e in t h e United M e t h o d i s t n e w s p a p e r Umbowo ("witness") fondly recalled m y "imagistic preaching." At t h e time, it did n o t d a w n o n m e t h a t t h e reporter, in analyzing m y s e r m o n s , inadvertently s t u m b l e d o n a character­ istic of preaching a n d a m e t h o d t h a t t h e g u r u s in t h e field of homiletics in t h e West h a d yet to c o n s i d e r seriously Now, I l e a r n e d m y "imagistic" p r e a c h i n g n o t from m y missionary professors b u t rather from m y upbringing: t h e way m y p a r e n t s used t h e imagination to n a r r a t e t h e gospel stories; t h e skill w i t h w h i c h t h e village elders a r o u n d t h e campfire at night created w h o l e worlds t h r o u g h their imaginative telling of fables; and, indeed, t h e whole African c o m m u n i t y , w h i c h constitutes t h e crucible for s h a p i n g y o u n g African m e n a n d w o m e n d u r i n g their formative years. Discussing imagination u n d e r t h e rubric of c o m m u n i c a t i o n d o e s n o t m e a n t h a t it is t h e "end p r o d u c t " of preaching. Imagination can b e discussed at any stage of s e r m o n p r e p a r a t i o n a n d delivery. Imagination should b e t h e c o n s t a n t c o m p a n i o n of every effective p r e a c h e r from start to

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finish. A n y o n e w h o has ever r e s p o n d e d t o a s e r m o n w i t h a n enthusiastic "a-hal" k n o w s t h e p o w e r of creative imagination in t h e preparation a n d delivery of a s e r m o n . T h e fact is, t h e j o u r n e y from t h e a n c i e n t world of t h e Bible to t h e p r e s e n t c a n b e navigated only by way of t h e imagination. Africa has n o t felt t h e full impact of t h e E n l i g h t e n m e n t , w h i c h disparaged any reference to t h e p o w e r of imagination. African p r e a c h e r s are a m a z e d to see Western homileticians e n c o u r a g i n g p r e a c h e r s to take t h e imagina­ tion seriously in preaching. T h e y w h o l e h e a r t e d l y agree w i t h Craddock: "Imagination is f u n d a m e n t a l to all thinking, from t h e levels of critical reasoning to reverie a n d d a y d r e a m i n g — Images are not, in fact, to b e regarded as illustrative b u t rather as essential to t h e form a n d inseparable from t h e c o n t e n t of t h e entire s e r m o n . "
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For m e , of all t h e skills t h a t c o m e into play in t h e process of c o m m u n i ­ cating t h e gospel, imagination is at t h e center. M o s t of t h e approaches, tech­ niques, skills, a n d designs p r o p o s e d for crafting, delivering, or performing s e r m o n s implicitly or explicitly incorporate t h e imagination. Inductive m e t h o d , storytelling, use of idioms, proverbs, poetic style, dramatic presen­ tation, a n d any o t h e r rhetorical strategy-all take root in t h e fertile soil of imagination. T h e idea of preaching as storytelling has substantial p u r c h a s e in t h e field of homiletics. But a n y o n e familiar w i t h cultures w h e r e stories are p a r t of everyday life would agree t h a t imagination is g e r m a n e to t h e art of storytelling. Storytelling d e m a n d s i m p r o m p t u , creative imagination. For imagination to enrich p r e a c h i n g requires s o m e e n v i r o n m e n t a l "props." O n e major s u c h s u p p o r t is t h e existence of c o m m u n i t i e s of p e o p l e w h o freely interact a n d have time to listen to o n e a n o t h e r ' s stories. T h e rank individualism of Western culture is inimical t o storytelling, b e c a u s e telling stories is always a c o m m u n a l activity. Stories are shared experiences b e t w e e n people. Thus, t h e r e is interest a m o n g homileticians to link preaching to c o m m u n i t i e s in general a n d especially t o t h e church as t h e c o m m u n i t y of believers. As Lischer p u t s it, "Without t h e c o m m u n i t y ' s p e r f o r m a n c e of t h e word, t h e c h a s m b e t w e e n t h e Book a n d c o n t e m p o r a r y c o m m u n i t i e s of faith is u n b r i d g e a b l e . " It is t r u e t h a t o n e of t h e m a n y p u r p o s e s of p r e a c h i n g is t o build c o m m u n i t i e s . However, preaching also is a r e s p o n s e t o t h e existence of c o m m u n i t i e s . W h e n G o d so loved t h e world a n d decided to s e n d t h e Son, it was in r e s p o n s e t o t h e existence of a c o m m u n i t y of p e o p l e .
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Sometimes it appears that homileticians are merely n a m i n g and

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r e n a m i n g t h e same m e t h o d or principle u n d e r a different guise, Preaching as "performance" has b e e n in circulation for s o m e time, N o w s o m e scholars are talking of a s e r m o n as "an o p e n work of art." Hermeneutically this "open work of art" creates an "aesthetics of reception." T h e way I see it, an "aesthetics of reception" allows preaching to b e palatable to t h e hearer as an active participant in a n d through the sermon. All these ideas, we are told, should b e classified u n d e r t h e "New Homiletic." Martin Nicol uses t h e t e r m New Homiletic to refer t o t h e work of a u t h o r s s u c h as Buttrick, Lowry, a n d Eslinger. The underlying thrust of these works is that preaching should b e a discourse that e m a n a t e s from t h e creative work of t h e imagination. For Nicol, Brueggemann's idea of preaching as poetic should b e taken seriously. "For I consider the first eleven pages of his [Brueggemann's] b o o k Finally Comes the Poet to be a treatise o n the s h a p e homiletics should take in t h e future." To w h a t extent does this p a t t e r n of homiletics originate in t h e oasis of imagination? Nicol provides t h e answer, "Brueggemann's vision is t h a t poetic, imaginative preaching, e m p o w e r e d with t h e texts of t h e Bible, will herald the n e w territory of G o d ' s Kingdom." To q u o t e Brueggemann, "This h a p p e n s w h e n the poet comes, w h e n the p o e t speaks, w h e n t h e preacher c o m e s as poet."
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Creative and effective preaching by a n y o t h e r n a m e will follow t h e imaginative trail. African p r e a c h e r s are e n c o u r a g e d t h a t imagination, which is t h e hallmark of storytelling in African c o m m u n i t i e s , is n o w b e i n g e s p o u s e d as a universal tool for preaching t h a t c o n n e c t s w i t h t h e hearer. In t h e West, t h e g e r m of t h e idea of t h e "New Homiletic" as w o r k of creative p e r f o r m a n c e goes back to Craddock. In his b o o k As One without Authority, C r a d d o c k develops a n a r g u m e n t for inductive p r e a c h i n g as o p p o s e d to t h e rationalist a n d propositional deductive m e t h o d , C r a d d o c k helps African preachers to n a m e a characteristic e x t a n t n o t only in s e r m o n d e v e l o p m e n t b u t also in t h e circles of conversation in t h e African c o m m u n i t i e s . For example, Ernst Wendland's s t u d y of preaching style a m o n g t h e C h e c h i w a in Malawi has s h o w n inductive p r e a c h i n g to b e t h e n o r m a t i v e p a t t e r n . A n "inductive-relational" style of preaching, h e concludes, is m o r e adaptable to c o m m u n i t i e s with closely knit relationships, as is still t h e case in African s o c i e t i e s . Yet, Mitchell's a n d Lischer's b o o k s s h o w t h a t inductive preaching, which d e m a n d s a n imaginative m e n t a l framework, has l o n g b e e n p a r t of t h e tradition of t h e African-American preacher. AfricanA m e r i c a n preachers trace their rhetorical strategies n o t to t h e Greco40

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R o m a n heritage b u t to their African roots. Ideally, imagination will c o n t i n u e to distinguish effective c o m m u n i c a t o r s of a gospel t h a t c o n n e c t s w i t h t h e twenty-first-century hearer.

Conclusion
Preaching t h a t c o n n e c t s for t h e twenty-first c e n t u r y h e a r e r m u s t reclaim t h e main t e n e t s of proclaiming t h e gospel. Preachers s h o u l d focus o n t h e u n d e r s t a n d i n g of t h e c o n t e x t in w h i c h p e o p l e h e a r t h e gospel; t h e cruci­ fied and resurrected Christ as t h e message; t h e preacher's place and iden­ tity as o n e w h o r e s p o n d s to t h e call t o ministry; and, finally, ways a n d m e a n s of c o m m u n i c a t i n g t h e gospel imaginatively. Yet, at t h e e n d of t h e d a y we c a n rest assured t h a t t h e Jesus Christ w h o m w e preach "is t h e s a m e yesterday a n d today a n d for ever" (Heb. 13:8). Eben Kanukayi Nhiwatiwa is Lecturer in Pastoral Theology in the Faculty of Zimbabwe.

Theology, Africa University, Mutare,

Endnotes
1. Phillips Brooks, Lectures on Preaching (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, n.d.), 5. 2. For whole books on preaching as communication, see M. Thomas Thangaraj, Preaching as Communication (Accra, Ghana: A Sempa Publishers. 1989), and Myron R. Chartier, Preaching as Communication: An Interpersonal Perspective, ed. William D. Thompson (Nashville: Abingdon, 1981). 3. See J.I. Packer "The Preacher as Theologian," in C h r i s t o p h e r G r e e n and David Jackman, eds„ When God's Voice Is Heard: Essays on Preaching Presented to Dick Luca (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1995), 84-87. 4. See Carl Wallace Petty, "The Homiletical Mind," in O x n a m G. Broomley, ed., Contemporary Preaching: A Study in Trends (New York: Abingdon, 1931), 20. 5. John Stott, I Believe in Preaching (London: H o d d e r & Stoughton, 1982), 69. 6. Ibid. 7. David C. Norrington, To Preach or Not to Preach: The Church's Urgent Question (Carlisle, Cumbria: Paternoster Press, 1996), 75. 8. D.A. C a r s o n . "Preaching T h a t U n d e r s t a n d s t h e World," in G r e e n a n d Jackman, When God's Voice Is Heard, 156. O n t h e challenge to all forms of authority, see also Stott, I Believe in Preaching, 51. 9. Aylward Shorter and Edwin Onyancha, Secularism in Africa: A Case Study:

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Nairobi City (Nairobi, Kenya: Paulines Publications Africa, 1997), 11-12,14. 10. Tsitsi Matope, "Mortician arrested for Stealing Corpses to Purchase Fuel," The Herald (19 July 2003): 1. 11. H a d d o n W. Robinson, Expository Preaching: Principles and Practice (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1980; reprint 1999), 16. 12. Richard P. Heitzenrater, The Elusive Mr. Wesley, John Wesley as Seen by Contemporaries and Biographers (Nashville: Abingdon), 2:83. 13. Cited in Heitzenrater, The Elusive Mr. Wesley, 2:89. 14. Richard Lischer, The Preacher King: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Word That Moved America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 4. 15. Steve Harper, John Wesley's Message Today (Grand Rapids, MI: Francis Asbury of Zondervan Publishing House, 1983), 132. 16. Andre Karamanga, comp., Problems and Promises of Africa: Towards and Beyond 2000 (All Africa Conference of Churches, 1993), 81. See also Craddock, w h o points out that even everyday language still has creative power, Fred Craddock, As One without Authority (Nashville: Abingdon, 1979), 26. 17. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Christology, with an Introduction by Edwin Robertson, trans, by John Bowden (London: Collins, 1966), 52. 18. Peter A d a m , "The P r e a c h e r a n d t h e Sufficient Word," in G r e e n a n d Jackman, When God's Voice Is Heard, 28-29. 19. Mark Elingsen, The Integrity of Biblical Narrative: Story in Theology and Proclamation (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1990), 18. 20. J o h n Wesley Z v o m u n o n d i i t a Kurewa, Preaching 6i Cultural Proclaiming the Gospel in Africa (Nashville: Abingdon, 2000), 92. Identity:

21. Eben Kanukayi Nhiwatiwa, "Preaching Grace in t h e H u m a n Condition: Case Analysis of Four Sermons from Zimbabwe," in Judith M. McDaniel, ed., Preaching Grace in the Human Condition, Studia Homiletica 3 (Proceedings of the Societas Homiletica Conference held at the Virginia Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C., Feb. 27-March 4,1999), 90. 22. Bonganjalo Goba, "Searching for a Liberation Ethic," in Voices from the Third World XVI/2 (December 1993):69. Hereafter cited as Voices. 23. Diego Irarrazaval, "How Is Theology D o n e in Latin America?" in Voices XVIII/1 Qune 1995): 67. 24. J u s t o L. G o n z a l e z a n d C a t h e r i n e G. G o n z a l e z , The Liberating (Nashville: Abingdon, 1994), 44, 45. Pulpit

25. Benezet Bujo, African Theology in Its Social Context, trans, from G e r m a n by John O. D o n o h u e M. Afr., (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1992), 103.

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26. C. M. Mwikamba, "Challenges and Problems of the Clergy: Some Trends in Kenya," in Douglas W. Waruta and H a n n a h W. Kinoti, Pastoral Care in African Christianity: Challenging Essays in Pastoral Theology, 2nd. ed. (Nairobi, Kenya: Acton Publishers, 2000), 263-64. 27. Annette Noller, "A Feminist Perspective," in Gerrit Immink and Ciska Strak, eds., Preaching: Creating Perspective, Studia Homiletica 4 (Nieuw-Lekkerland: Drukkerij Van der Perk, 2002), 102 and 110. 28. Thomas G. Long, The Witness of Preaching (Louisville: Westminster J o h n Knox, 1989), 23-47. Long discusses several images of the preacher. 29. E d m u n d A. Steimle, Morris J. Niedenthal, Charles L. Rice, Preaching the Story (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983), 2 3 , 2 8 . 30. Henry H. Mitchell, Black Preaching: The Recovery of a Powerful Art (Nashville: Abingdon, 1990), 133. 31. Gardner C. Taylor, How Shall They Preach: The Lyman Beecher Lectures and Five Lenten Sermons (Elgin, IL.: Progressive Baptist Publishing House, 1979), 78. 32. G e o r g e E. Sweazey, Preaching the Good News ( E n g l e w o o d Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1976), 294, 298. 33. Bishop Abel Tendekai Muzorewa, Rise Up & Walk: An Autobiography, ed. by N o r m a n E. Thomas (Nashville: Abingdon, 1978), 5. 34. Engelbert Mveng, S.J., "African Theology: A Methodological Approach," Voices XVIII/1 J u n e 1995): 109. 35. Chartier, Preaching as Communication, 51. 36. Craddock, As One without Authority, 14-15. 37. Ibid,, 77,80. 38. Lischer, Preacher King, 217. See also Steimle, Preaching the Story, 39; Buttrick, Homiletic, 262, 268; Craddock, As One without Authority, 43; and Taylor, How Shall They Preach?, 82. 39. For a discussion of the "New Homiletic" and the authors named in this article, see Martin Nicol, "The Art of Preaching Versus the Doctrine of God? The Role Dogmatics Play in Preaching," in Immink and Stark, eds., Preaching: Creating Perspective, 184-95. 40. Ernst R. Wendland, Preaching That Grabs the Heart: A Rhetorical-Stylistic Study of the Chickewa Revival Sermons of Shaddreck Wame (Blantyre: Christian Literature Association in Malawi, 2000), 234, 255.

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"I Permit Not a Woman to Teach": Women's Roles as a Test Case for Biblical Authority
RALPH K. HAWKINS

n his r e c e n t b o o k Affirmations of a Dissenter, U n i t e d M e t h o d i s t Bishop C. J o s e p h Sprague identifies t h e real issue b e h i n d m a n y c u r r e n t conflicts w i t h i n t h e d e n o m i n a t i o n as t h e q u e s t i o n of biblical authority. In a chapter devoted t o biblical authority, Sprague uses t h e issue of h o m o s e x u a l i t y as a foil for exposing t h e "inconsistent literal reading" of Scripture by conserva­ tives, an a p p r o a c h t h a t e a r n s t h e m t h e label "neoliteralists." While conserv­ atives have b e e n lenient o n divorce, war, a n d t h e role of w o m e n , h e claims, t h e y have r e s p o n d e d to t h e issue of h o m o s e x u a l i t y w i t h rigid literalism. H e m a k e s charges a n d t h e n raises q u e s t i o n s for conservatives;
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I

I do hereby dissent from the arrogance of neoliteralism and the cowardly silence of progressives. In dissenting. I ask these questions of neoliteralists. Given your stance on homosexuality, how do you read the words of Jesus on matters related to divorce and remarriage? The taking of human life whether in war or by capital punishment? The gradual, but apparent acceptance of women as leaders in the church? By posing these questions I presuppose that the neoliteralistic methodology demands consistency in biblical interpretation and that the neoliteralists are far from consistent in their interpretation, applica­ tion, and use of Holy Scripture.
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Sprague goes o n t o deal w i t h e a c h issue in turn—divorce, war, and t h e role of w o m e n . In this article, I r e s p o n d specifically t o Sprague's accusation of conservative bigotry in relation to its a c c e p t a n c e of w o m e n . I d o this

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first by looking specifically at Sprague's charges a n d t h e n by reviewing t w o key N e w T e s t a m e n t passages: 1 Cor. 14:33b-36 a n d 1 Tim. 2:8-15.

Sprague's Dramatic Dilemma for Neoliteralists
Sprague celebrates t h e fact t h a t m a n y w o m e n are currently in positions of leadership in United M e t h o d i s m b u t t h e n recalls a time w h e n "neoliteral­ ists" o p p o s e d their inclusion in ministry. After asking w h y t h e y have altered their position, h e sarcastically asks t h e rhetorical q u e s t i o n of w h e t h e r it is b e c a u s e t h e w o r d s of Scripture have changed. "Hardly," h e answers. Sprague t h e n q u o t e s 1 Tim. 2:9-15: I desire, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument; also that the women should dress themselves modestly and decently in suitable clothing, not with their hair braided, or with gold, pearls, or expensive clothes, but with good works, as is proper for women who profess reverence for God. Let a woman learn in silence with full submis­ sion. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man, she is to keep silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and holiness, with modesty. A b o u t this text, Sprague concludes: This passage presents a dramatic dilemma for neoliteralists as they now point proudly to women leaders in their midst. That is, at face value, the 1 Timothy text about the place of women in leadership in the church (namely, nowhere) is clearly not being followed in their daily practices. What is the biblical hermeneutic at work that makes rather obscure biblical texts definitive and exclu­ sive regarding homosexuality, while the unambiguous statement in 1 Timothy is either ignored or defied?
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Sprague again registers his dissent from t h e neoliteralists' h e r m e n e u t i c t h a t "makes of scripture a theological a n d political cafeteria line t h a t suits t h e political a p p e t i t e of neoliteralists instead of inviting all of us to feast a n d b e n u r t u r e d b y t h e w h o l e biblical offering.**
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Sprague's accusations are very serious, as t h e y q u e s t i o n t h e moral

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integrity of t h o s e w h o use Scripture in seeking to u p h o l d t h e church's posi­ tion o n h o m o s e x u a l i t y I believe that a review of conservative interpretive approaches—both inside a n d o u t s i d e T h e U n i t e d M e t h o d i s t Church—will s h o w t h a t conservative a c c e p t a n c e of w o m e n in ministry has largely b e e n a result of intertextual biblical i n t e r p r e t a t i o n rather t h a n a m a t t e r of treating Scripture as a "cafeteria line."
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Women's Roles in the New Testament

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A detailed s t u d y of every passage relevant to t h e q u e s t i o n of w o m e n ' s roles in t h e c h u r c h is b e y o n d t h e s c o p e of this article. But t h e t w o passages that are generally recognized to b e integral to t h e discussion, 1 C o r i n t h i a n s 14 a n d 1 Timothy 2, will b e briefly e x a m i n e d .
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1 Cor. 14:33b-36
This first text of c o n c e r n reads as follows: As in all the churches of the saints, women should be silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as the law also says, If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only ones it has reached? W h e n Paul instructs t h e w o m e n to "be silent," h e u s e s t h e G r e e k word siagao, w h i c h m e a n s "to b e silent," or "to k e e p silence." Its c o r r e s p o n d i n g n o u n , sige, m e a n s "silence." Taking this text at face value w o u l d m e a n that w o m e n were not allowed to make a s o u n d in t h e plenary services of firstc e n t u r y congregations. T h e y h a d to r e m a i n "mute." F e w scholars, e v e n a m o n g t h e m o s t conservative, would accept this u n d e r s t a n d i n g . For example, Robert Rowland suggests t h a t t h e c o n s e q u e n c e s of a full, literal, a n d unqualified reading of this passage w o u l d b e absurd. With t o n g u e in cheek, h e writes:
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If they are to be silent in the worship assembly, they cannot make public confession in the assembly, but they must make it elsewhere. Nor can they confess faults or solicit prayers, or speak to their husbands, children, or neigh­ bors. They cannot say "Amen." Common courtesy remarks such as, "Excuse me," "Thank you," "Please," or "I'm sorry" could not be uttered. If Paul meant

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"mute" in all the churches, then mute (silent) women must be! Who gave any man or group of men the authority to pick and choose? We want to "have our cake and eat it, too."
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A n o t h e r writer in t h e fundamentalist tradition, Rubel Shelly, p o i n t s o u t that, indeed, "taken at face value a n d w i t h o u t qualification, this text likely requires m o r e t h a n a n y o n e has b e e n willing to d e m a n d . "
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Aside from t h e

p r o b l e m of i n c o n s i s t e n t application in t h e church, if this is a prohibition of all speaking by all w o m e n in all congregations, t h e n Paul has contradicted t h e instructions h e himself gave earlier in t h e s a m e letter, w h e r e h e instructed a w o m a n o n t h e p r o p r i e t y of public prayer a n d p r o p h e c y (11:5). Therefore, t h e r e m u s t b e s o m e cultural or contextual clue t o unlocking t h e m e a n i n g of this passage. Indeed, t h e key to unlocking t h e passage c o m e s from its larger context. Paul's strict d e m a n d for silence a p p e a r s in t h e c o n t e x t of a discussion of congregational gatherings in w h i c h t h e H o l y Spirit caused s u c h gifts as t o n g u e s a n d p r o p h e c i e s to b e manifested. T h e i m m e d i a t e context has to d o w i t h t h e authoritative i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of t h o s e t o n g u e s a n d prophesies. Two or t h r e e p r o p h e t s are to speak, after w h i c h o t h e r s are silent while an authoritative interpretation is given (14:29-33). So t h e c o n t e x t of 1 Cor. 14:34-35 is Paul's discussion of c h u r c h order. Apparently, in t h e relevant verses, Paul's c o n c e r n is t h a t s o m e w o m e n w e r e i n t e r r u p t i n g d u r i n g this teaching p e r i o d of t h e c h u r c h service. Craig S. Keener n o t e s t h a t "informed listeners customarily asked ques­ tions d u r i n g lectures, b u t it was c o n s i d e r e d r u d e for t h e ignorant to d o so." T h e w o m e n w h o a t t e n d e d t h e s e services h a d less access t h a n m e n to training in t h e Scriptures a n d public reasoning, and so Paul w a n t e d t h e m to stop i n t e r r u p t i n g t h e teaching p e r i o d of t h e c h u r c h service. It is n o t t h a t h e did n o t w a n t t h e m to learn. I n d e e d , "he provides t h e m o s t progressive m o d e l of his day: their h u s b a n d s are to respect their intellectual capabili­ ties and give t h e m private instruction." Until t h e s e w o m e n b e c a m e b e t t e r a c q u a i n t e d w i t h t h e Scriptures, t h e y w e r e distracting o t h e r s a n d disrupting t h e o r d e r in t h e church service.
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1 Tim. 2:8-15
T h e s e c o n d crucial passage, cited earlier, states t h a t a w o m a n is to "learn in silence"; t h a t she is n o t "to teach or to have a u t h o r i t y over a man"; and t h a t

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she is "to k e e p silent." Conservatives, n o less t h a n liberals, have grappled w i t h this text for centuries. I offer five observations. 1. This passage s e e m s to a p p e a r in a larger context of instructions regarding congregational life a n d w o r s h i p , particularly in light of a specific heresy Timothy was facing in E p h e s u s . Manfred Brauch offers t w o possible reconstructions of t h e situation in Timothy's congregation at E p h e s u s : First, it m a y have b e e n that t h e w o m e n in t h e E p h e s i a n c h u r c h w e r e t h e m a i n advocates a n d p r o m o t e r s of t h e false teachings, w h i c h w e r e d i s r u p t i n g t h e congregation. Second, it m a y have b e e n t h e w o m e n in particular w h o were being especially targeted by t h e heretical teachers (3:8). So 1 Tim. 2:9-15 a p p e a r s to have a d d r e s s e d a particular h e r e s y focused o n w o m e n a n d w o m e n ' s roles.
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2. T h e context of t h e entire p e r i c o p e is t h a t of public prayer, T h e "like­ wise" (hosautos) of v. 9 m a y b e a n i m p o r t a n t interpretive clue: "Although t h e g r a m m a r is n o t clear o n this point, t h e 'likewise' of 2:9 p r o b a b l y suggests t h a t Paul, w h o has just instructed t h e m e n o n h o w t o pray, n o w t u r n s to instructing t h e w o m e n in t h e s a m e w a y " Just as h e w a n t s m e n to pray w i t h o u t arguments, so Paul w a n t s w o m e n to pray "in m o d e s t clothing." Both instructions are given in t h e context of public prayer.
18

3. T h e G r e e k w o r d s aner a n d gune m a y b e b e t t e r translated h e r e "husbands" and "wives" rather t h a n "men" a n d " w o m e n . " T h e A m e r i c a n Standard Version translates aner as "husband" 29 t i m e s a n d gune as "wife" 33 t i m e s . A n d t h e s e r e n d e r i n g s s e e m to b e suggested by t h e i m m e d i a t e context, in which Paul m e n t i o n s A d a m , Eve, a n d childbearing, a possibility limited to husband-wife relationships. So rather t h a n having given instruction for m e n a n d w o m e n in general, h e m a y have b e e n giving t h e s e a d m o n i t i o n s for h u s b a n d s a n d wives in t h e E p h e s i a n congregation.
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4. Readers m u s t have an awareness of t h e a s s u m p t i o n s of t h e text. S o m e fundamentalists, s u c h as Bob Berard, writing in Contending for the Faith, criticize t h o s e w h o struggle w i t h t h e s e h a r d texts for m a k i n g a s s u m p ­ tions in areas w h e r e t h e text is u n c l e a r . However, o t h e r conservative interpreters recognize that t h e r e are a s s u m p t i o n s m a d e even w i t h i n t h e text itself, d u e to t h e occasional n a t u r e of t h e epistles. Paul's letters were situational, addressing specific situations w i t h w h i c h h e a n d t h e recipient were familiar b u t w h i c h we c a n only i n f e r or "assume." Indeed, it is clear t h a t in this text Paul is n o t urging t h e lifting u p of h a n d s ; rather, h e a s s u m e s t h e practice. Rather, his wish is t h a t w h e n prayer occurs, it takes
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place w i t h o u t t h e arguing described in 6:3-5. Likewise, d e s p i t e his instruc­ tion that "if she w o u l d learn anything, let h e r ask at h o m e (1 Cor. 14:35), it is clear t h a t Paul a s s u m e s here t h a t w o m e n are learning as p a r t of t h e assemblies. And, while Paul w a n t s t h e w o m e n to c o n t i n u e to learn in t h e assemblies, h e is again c o n c e r n e d w i t h t h e manner in w h i c h t h e y learn." n o t to total s i l e n c e .
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H e explains t h a t t h e y are to learn in hesukia, w h i c h refers to a d e m e a n o r , 5. Paul's a p p e a l to G e n e s i s d o e s n o t have t o d o w i t h a n "order of creation" a r g u m e n t in w h i c h m a n is s e e n as superior, while w o m a n is m o r e emotional, as d e m o n s t r a t e d in t h e Fall, a n d therefore u n s u i t e d for leader­ ship.
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But t h e creation a c c o u n t in G e n . 1-2 affirms male a n d female as

equal a n d c o m p l e m e n t a r y . M e n a n d w o m e n b e a r G o d ' s image t o g e t h e r (1:26-27), a n d t o g e t h e r t h e y hold responsible sovereignty over t h e created o r d e r (1:28). W o m a n ' s creation is for t h e p u r p o s e of delivering m a n from his loneliness as well as to provide h i m w i t h a c o m p l e m e n t (2:18). Indeed, t h e creation a c c o u n t of G e n e s i s is polemical. Over against an ancient view that the gods played a trick on man by creating woman of inferior material, the creation account of Genesis affirms the woman to be of the same essence as man ("bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh"— Gen. 2.23). Thus the view that God intended the woman for a restricted role in home, church and society cannot be grounded in the order of creation.
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The creation a c c o u n t is n o t r e c o r d e d t o give readers a n "order of creation" or a m o d e l for hierarchy b u t to explain t h e n a t u r e a n d p u r p o s e of t h e creation of m a n and w o m a n . T h a t is, t h e creation a c c o u n t explains t o readers t h a t m a n was i n c o m p l e t e a n d w o m a n w a s created as a comple­ m e n t . In regard t o t h e G e n e s i s text's relevance for t h e E p h e s i a n church, T h o m a s G e e r concludes, When, in this instance, the intended complementary relationship between man and woman is destroyed due to the domineering attitude of the women, Paul's appeal to remember that woman was created after man is not an appeal for a return to male dominance and female subjection, but to return to a complementary role.
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Indeed, t h e curse of G e n e s i s 3:16—"Your desire shall b e for y o u r

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h u s b a n d , a n d h e shall rule over you'—does n o t r e p o r t G o d ' s created design for a male hierarchy Rather, these words announced a cursed existence because of a broken rela­ tionship between the human creation and the Creator. A restricted place for woman, and male-over-female dominance, is thus not the divine purpose but an expression of human sin.
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In light of these five considerations, it a p p e a r s t h a t t h e heresy in t h e E p h e s i a n church was o n e t o w h i c h t h e female m e m b e r s w e r e particularly susceptible b e c a u s e of their lack of o p p o r t u n i t y for e d u c a t i o n in t h e Scriptures, M u c h of t h e false teaching in E p h e s u s was b e i n g spread t h r o u g h t h e w o m e n of t h e congregation. Craig K e e n e r concludes, Presumably, Paul wants them to learn so that they could teach. If he prohibits women from teaching because they are unlearned, his demand that they learn constitutes a long-range solution to the problem. Women unlearned in the Bible could not be trusted to pass on its teachings accurately, but once they had learned, this would not be an issue, and they could join the ranks of women colleagues in ministry whom Paul elsewhere commends.
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Paul d o e s n o t s e e m to b e s p e a k i n g in universal language here. Rather, h e has addressed t h e m e n ' s problems, w h i c h h e has h e a r d about; a n d h e likewise addresses t h e w o m e n ' s p r o b l e m s w i t h w h i c h h e b e c a m e familiar. Therefore, Paul's counsel h e r e s e e m s to b e specific t o t h e p r o b l e m s of t h e E p h e s i a n church. In light of t h e s e tentative conclusions, T h o m a s G e e r deliberates over t h e q u e s t i o n of h o w to apply this passage t o t h e m o d e r n church. We are not living in first-century Ephesus, nor are we first-century people , , . Just because Paul wanted the wives in Ephesus not to teach, it does not neces­ sarily follow that he wanted all women in all places and in all times to behave in exactly the same way.
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But, indeed, t h e principle of t h e text d o e s apply: T h e conflict in E p h e s u s led Paul to prohibit t h e w o m e n t h e r e from teaching, a n d t h e letter as a w h o l e implies t h a t n o male teachers influenced by false teachers o u g h t

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t o be allowed to teach either. T h o s e m e n o r w o m e n sufficiently taught, a n d w h o s e d o c t r i n e w a s n o t s t a i n e d b y h e r e s y w e r e free t o teach. "When free­ d o m s d o n o t d i s r u p t t h e w o r s h i p a n d health of a congregation, Paul supports those freedoms."
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If t h e s e t w o texts. 1 C o r i n t h i a n s a n d 1 Timothy, are to give any guid­ a n c e in t h e discussion of w o m e n ' s roles, t h e n t h e y m u s t b e i n t e r p r e t e d in light of Galatians 3:28: "There is n o longer male or female" in Christ. T h e r e is n o h i n t of inequality b e t w e e n t h e sexes in G e n . 1:26-30; it is only at t h e Fall t h a t this begins to e m e r g e (Gen. 3:16). Sexual discrimination has prevailed since t h e Fall. While Old T e s t a m e n t society was patriarchal, Jesus' attitude toward w o m e n d u r i n g his ministry was revolutionary in its impli­ cations and, following his ministry, t h e p r o m i n e n c e of w o m e n increased in t h e early church. In Gal. 3:28, Paul reveals G o d ' s ideal, as expressed prior to t h e Fall, w h i c h s h o u l d n o w b e g i n t o b e i m p l e m e n t e d in C h r i s t . Paul.
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The

church should serve as a catalyst for m o v i n g toward t h e ideal held o u t by

Conclusion
This brief article has s o u g h t to u s e t h e role of w o m e n as a test case for Sprague's accusation t h a t conservatives have b e e n lenient o n scriptural interpretation in t h e case of w o m e n ' s roles b u t legalistic in t e r m s of h o w t h e y have r e s p o n d e d t o homosexuality. I have s o u g h t t o s h o w t h a t t h e a c c e p t a n c e of increased roles for w o m e n in t h e church, including ordina­ tion, h a s n o t b e e n an a c q u i e s a n c e to political p r e s s u r e s b u t rather t h e result of careful biblical s t u d y . Conservatives have s o u g h t to be consistent in their h e r m e n e u t i c a l a p p r o a c h t o Scripture.
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It is n o t clear, however, t h a t h e r m e n e u t i c a l a p p r o a c h e s or exegetical processes are t h e crux of t h e issue here. For, while Sprague laments "the nearly unchallenged takeover of t h e biblical high g r o u n d " by "neoliteralists" a n d claims t o affirm "that t h e Bible is a n d ever shall b e t h e p r i m a r y s o u r c e of authority for all Christians," h e also writes that, in t h e discussion a b o u t t h e role of w o m e n , "retreat to t h e w o r d s of 1 T i m o t h y as sacred Truth (words w r i t t e n n o t by Paul b u t by an a n o n y m o u s veteran leader of t h e early c h u r c h in t h e s e c o n d century) is nonsensical"* W h e t h e r 1 T i m o t h y was p s e u d o n y m o u s l y a u t h o r e d o r not, it d o e s a p p e a r t h a t Sprague is absolutely correct a b o u t w h a t is central in t h e religio-political battle over homosexuality: biblical a u t h o r i t y .
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Ralph K. Hawkins is a Ph.D. candidate at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, and an adjunct professor of religion at Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana.

Endnotes
1. C. Joseph Sprague, Affirmations of a Dissenter (Nashville: Abingdon, 2002), 21, In this article, I use the terms liberal and conservative. While recognizing that they are not completely accurate and not necessarily always representative of those being described, I feel that Sprague's terms—neoliteralist and progressiveate too laden with inappropriate implications to be useful. Neoliteralist sounds pejorative and progressive implies that those w h o hold more conservative or traditional views are somehow regressive a n d / o r repressive. 2. Ibid., 22. 3. Sprague notes here that the Confessing M o v e m e n t and t h e Institute for Religion and Democracy both have w o m e n in key leadership positions. 4. Sprague, Affirmations of a Dissenter, 25. 5. Ibid. 6. I am not suggesting here that securing ordination for w o m e n has been an easy process in The United Methodist Church or in other traditions. Women have, indeed, faced obstacles in gaining acceptance in b o t h lay and ordained ministries. For a brief discussion and references, see Thomas Edward Frank, Polity, Practice, and the Mission of The United Methodist Church (Nashville: Abingdon, 1997), 87-89, 228-29, 288. For further studies on the acceptance and role of w o m e n in M e t h o d i s m , see Earl Kent Brown, Women in Mr. Wesley's Methodism (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellon Press, 1983); Paul W. Chilcote, John Wesley and the Women Preachers of Early Methodism (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1991); idem, She Offered Them Christ: The Legacy of Women Preachers in Early Methodism (Nashville: Abingdon, 1993); Judith Craig, ed., The Leading Women: Stories of the First Women Bishops of The United Methodist Church (Nashville: Abingdon, 2004). 7 The following textual interpretations are excerpted from my book, A Heritage in Crisis: Where We've Been, Where We Are, and Where We're Going in the Churches of Christ (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2001), 92-96, and are used by permission of the publisher. 8. The reader should also examine the role of w o m e n in the ministry of Jesus, in the apostolic church, in the Pauline churches, the roll call of Paul's workers

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in Romans 16, and the "no longer male and female" passage of Galatians 3:28. 9. G. Abbot-Smith, A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1986), 405-06. 10. Robert H. Rowland, "I Permit Not a Woman ...to OR: Lighthouse, 1991), 49. Remain Shackled" (Newport,

11. Rubel Shelly, *A Woman's Place Is . . . , " in Wineskins 2 / 1 (May 1993): 5. 12. Craig S. Keener, The 1VP Bible Background Commentary: New (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1993), 483. Testament

13. It may also b e that t h e s e instructions were to "wives" w h o were inter­ rupting their husbands as they (the husbands) attempted to give an interpreta­ tion to a tongue or prophecy. If gune in 14:33t>35 were translated as "wives," it would t h e n be instructing wives to cease interrupting their husbands' interpre­ tations, waiting until they got h o m e to discuss them. 14. F u r t h e r attention should be given to 1 Cor. 11:2-16. James D.G. D u n n draws attention to an often-neglected point: w h e n Paul deals with the question of a w o m a n ' s ministering in t h e assembly, he approaches it as an issue of "authority." Paul's instructions were not for the purpose of restricting women's prophesying but "that their prophesying might, with a 'proper' hairstyle, not be distracting" and thereby be authoritative. See James D.G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998), 589-91. 15. See R a y m o n d Brown, An Introduction to the New Testament (New York: Doubleday, 1997), 608, 660-61; Robert J. Karris, "Pastoral Letters, The," in Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan, eds., The Oxford Companion to the Bible (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 574-76; Jerome D. Quinn, "Timothy a n d T i t u s , E p i s t l e s to," in D a v i d N o e l F r e e d m a n , ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 6:560-71. 16. For detailed discussions, see David M. Scholer, "1 Timothy 2.9-15 and the Place of Women in t h e Church's Ministry," and Catherine Clark Kroeger, "1 Timothy 2:12—A Classicist's View," in Alvera Mickelsen, Women, Authority and the Bible (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1986), 193-244. 17. Manfred T. Brauch, Hard Sayings of Paul (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1989), 255-56. 18. Craig S. Keener, Paul, Women and Wives: Marriage and Women's Ministry in the Letters of Paul (Peabody, MA: Hendrikson, 1992), 102. 19. Rowland, "I Permit Not A Woman ...To Remain Shackled," 122-29. 20. Figures given in the context of Rowland's discussion, 87-88. 21. T h o m a s C. Geer, Jr., "Admonitions to W o m e n in 1 Timothy 2.8-15," in

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Carroll D. Osburn, ed., Essays on Women in Earliest Christianity (Joplin, MO: College Press, 1993), 1:289. 22. Bob Berard, "Women May Not Lead in Worship!" in Contending for the Faith 2 8 / 9 (September 1997): 1345. 23. D. A. Carson, Douglas J. Moo, and Leon Morris, An Introduction to the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992), 231-33. 24. E d w i n D . Freed, The New Testament: A Critical Introduction, (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1986), 247. 25. David E. Aune, The New Testament in Its Literary Environment (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1987), 204. 26. "Lifting u p holy hands" is a circumstantial participial phrase. 27. Geer, "Admonitions to Women in 1 Timothy 2.8-15," 291-92. 28. The word for "quietness" in 2:10 is the same word that is used for the "quiet life" of the community in 2:2. The community is obviously called not to a life of mute silence but to a life characterized by a peaceful demeanor. 29. As the frontier preacher David Lipscomb taught. Cf. A Commentary on the New Testament Epistles (Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1942), 142-45. 30. Brauch, Hard Sayings of Paul, 253. 31. Geer, "Admonitions to Women in 1 Timothy 2.8-15," 295. 32. Brauch, Hard Sayings of Paul, 254. 33. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary, 112. 34. Geer, "Admonitions to Women in 1 Timothy 2.8-15," 300. 35. Ibid., 302. 36. Cf, Jan Faver Hailey, "Neither Male and Female" (Gal. 3:28)," in Osburn, ed., Essays on Women in Earliest Christianity, 1:131-66. 37. See endnote 6. 38. Sprague, Affirmations of a Dissenter, 21-22. 39. Ibid., 33. The parenthetical statement is his; the italics are mine. 40. Ibid., 20. 2 n d . ed,

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TEX SAMPLE

alph Hawkins takes u p Joseph Sprague's challenge to neoliteralists* "inconsistent literal reading" of Scripture, electing to address especially Sprague's "accusation of conservative bigotry in relation to its [the neoliteralist's] acceptance of women." In t h e limitations of space assigned m e here, I can only take u p a few c o n c e r n s in a p a p e r t h a t is problematic t h r o u g h o u t . M y first c o n c e r n is that of Hawkins's characterization of Sprague's charges. In t h e quotations from Sprague that Hawkins uses, Sprague accuses t h e neoliteralists of "arrogance" a n d of "inconsistent literal reading," n o t of "bigotry" Hawkins n e e d s to stay with t h e Sprague q u o t e h e uses, not with Hawkins's reconstructive characterizations. Later, h e q u o t e s Sprague's dissent from t h e interpretations of neoliteral­ ists that "makes of Scripture a theological a n d political cafeteria line t h a t suits t h e political appetite of neoliteralists instead of inviting all of us to feast and b e n u r t u r e d by t h e w h o l e biblical offering." Hawkins t h e n accuses Sprague of q u e s t i o n i n g "the moral integrity of t h o s e w h o use Scripture in seeking to u p h o l d t h e church's position o n homosexuality." Certainly, Sprague d o e s accuse t h e neoliteralists of a theological a n d political reading of Scripture. Here, again, H a w k i n s would d o well to attack t h e Sprague q u o t e Hawkins uses, n o t a charge h e d o e s n o t m a k e there. You can certainly argue that a p o i n t of view is theologically a n d politically d e t e r m i n e d w i t h o u t necessarily accusing t h e p e o p l e w h o hold that view of a lack of moral integrity. They could, for example, simply b e ideologically c o n s u m e d . H a w k i n s t u r n s to 1 Cor. 14:336-36 a n d 1 Tim. 2.8-15 to d e m o n s t r a t e his belief "that a review of conservative interpretive a p p r o a c h e s . . . will s h o w t h a t conservative a c c e p t a n c e of w o m e n in ministry has largely b e e n a result of intertextual biblical interpretation rather t h a n a m a t t e r of treating Scripture as a 'cafeteria line.'" (291) It is i m p o r t a n t t o n o t e t h a t H a w k i n s has shifted t h e a r g u m e n t in t w o ways. First, h e has c h a n g e d Sprague's t e r m neoliteralist to conservative. H a w k i n s gives his r e a s o n s in e n d n o t e 1; b u t if Sprague m e a n t to say conser­ vative, I suspect h e would have u s e d t h a t term. H a w k i n s n e e d s to stay w i t h

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Sprague's argument. F u r t h e r m o r e , a r g u m e n t s against a conservative approach—for example, a critique of Richard Hays's w o r k o n Rom. 1:24-27— will take a different s h a p e from t h o s e against a neoliteralist view, Second, Hawkins admits t h a t h e is working w i t h "conservative interpre­ tive a p p r o a c h e s " (291, italics mine). This is a n i m p o r t a n t a d m i s s i o n - o n e t h a t s o m e s e e m unwilling to m a k e w i t h their e m p h a s i s o n t h e "literal" r e a d i n g of t h e text. A s we shall see below, H a w k i n s really d o e s d o a n "inter­ pretive approach." In this sense, h e is n o t a literalist. (Incidentally, I agree w i t h Stanley Fish's claim t h a t n o o n e c a n read a text "literally." E v e r y o n e reads a text as part of a c o m m u n i t y of interpretation. Certainly H a w k i n s does, as we shall see.) In Hawkins's "conservative interpretive a p p r o a c h " any n u m b e r of q u e s t i o n s n e e d to b e raised. T h e first is his use of t h e n o t i o n of "larger context." H a w k i n s restricts "larger context" to t h e biblical text in question. H e alludes to t h e larger societal, patriarchal context only twice: o n c e in a c o m m e n t t h a t Paul "provides t h e m o s t progressive [an interesting choice of w o r d ] m o d e l of his day . . . " (292) a n d t h e o t h e r w h e n , in c o n c e d i n g t h a t "Old T e s t a m e n t society was patriarchal," h e n o t e s Jesus' revolutionary atti­ t u d e toward w o m e n a n d "the increased p r o m i n e n c e of w o m e n in t h e early church." (296) (Observe h e r e t h a t H a w k i n s d o e s n o t m e n t i o n t h e patriar­ chal character of N e w T e s t a m e n t society.) T h r o u g h o u t t h e p a p e r h e ignores t h e influence of t h e larger patriarchal context. But t h e fact is, t h e cultural frameworks of Scripture are a c o n d i t i o n of t h e text. T h e s e c a n n o t b e avoided by a t e n d e n t i o u s u s e of t h e "larger context" of a p e r i c o p e t h a t brackets o u t this patriarchal influence. Second, Hawkins uses approvingly Craig Keener's observation t h a t "[t]he w o m e n . . . h a d less access t h a n m e n t o training in t h e Scriptures a n d public reasoning " This is w h y Paul w a n t e d "them to stop interrupting t h e teaching period of t h e church service." (292) D o H a w k i n s a n d Keener actually believe t h a t all t h e m e n exclusively h a d this access t o training a n d public reasoning b u t that n o w o m a n did? This is a t e n d e n t i o u s claim a n d p r e s u m e s knowledge of t h a t specific context that n e i t h e r of t h e m has. N o t e here, too, t h a t he avoids a discussion of 1 Cor. 14:336-34, w h e r e Paul says, "As in all the churches of the saints, w o m e n should b e silent." Again, this is n o situational or occasional claim, at least for "all t h e churches" of t h a t time. Third, Hawkins's use of t h e situational a n d occasional character of t h e epistles of Paul is t r o u b l e s o m e in t e r m s of t h e logic h e uses a n d r e p o r t s

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from others; for example, in his discussion of 1 Tim. 2:8-15. N o t e Manfred Brauch's "two possible reconstructions" of t h e situation in t h e congregation at Ephesus. Brauch argues that "it may have been t h a t t h e w o m e n were t h e main advocates and p r o m o t e r s of false teaching, which were disrupting t h e congregation." (293) H e t h e n argues, as approvingly r e p o r t e d by Hawkins, t h a t "it may have been t h e w o m e n in particular w h o w e r e being especially targeted by t h e heretical teachers (3:8)." (293) T h e n Hawkins states, "So, 1 Tim. 2:9-15 appears to have addressed a particular heresy focused o n w o m e n a n d w o m e n ' s roles" (293, italics mine). To argue t h a t s o m e t h i n g "may have been" (twice!) a n d t h e n that it "appears to have addressed" is an unjustified leap in logic. Yet more, by t h e time Hawkins lays o u t his five points, he quotes w i t h approval T h o m a s G e e r ' s claim t h a t "the i n t e n d e d c o m p l e m e n t a r y relation­ ship b e t w e e n m a n a n d w o m a n is destroyed due to the domineering attitude of the women" (294) W h a t H a w k i n s d o e s here is to take his "may-have-been" a n d "so-it-appears-to-be" logic to arrive at a conclusion that t h e p r o b l e m is t h e "domineering attitude of t h e women." His interpretation is not "in t h e text" b u t rather reads, quite candidly, like blaming t h e w o m e n in o r d e r to avoid o w n i n g u p to t h e patriarchal a n d hierarchical influences in 1 Timothy. Notice, too, that, in his discussion of 1 Tim. 2:12, H a w k i n s d r o p s t h e u n d e r l i n e d p h r a s e '7 permit no woman t o teach o r to have a u t h o r i t y over a m a n " (italics mine). H a w k i n s r e p h r a s e s this: "a w o m a n . . . is n o t 'to teach o r to have a u t h o r i t y over a man.'" (292, italics mine) This softens 1 Timothy's m o r e absolute s t a t e m e n t . "I p e r m i t n o w o m a n " is hardly an occasional or situational s t a t e m e n t , as H a w k i n s claims. Further, 1 T i m o t h y s u p p o r t s this claim by n o t i n g t h e o r d e r in w h i c h A d a m a n d Eve w e r e created, n o t only from his a r g u m e n t t h a t Eve, n o t A d a m , was deceived in t h e Fall. This o r d e r gives p r e c e d e n c e to m e n , as 1 T i m o t h y states: "For A d a m was formed first, t h e n Eve . . . " At this p o i n t a n d others, Hawkins's discussion fails to see t h e hierarchical a n d patriarchal influences in b o t h t h e Creation a n d t h e Fall as recorded in G e n e s i s a n d as argued in this passsage from 1 Timothy. Finally, it is interesting that H a w k i n s q u o t e s Sprague's c o m m e n t that 1 Timothy as eternal t r u t h is "nonsensical" a n d c o n c l u d e s from this t h a t "Sprague is absolutely correct a b o u t w h a t is central in t h e religio-political battle over homosexuality: biblical authority." (296) Yet, H a w k i n s himself places t h e 1 C o r i n t h i a n s a n d 1 T i m o t h y passages in "larger" a n d m o r e "immediate contexts" a n d sees t h e s e as m a k i n g "occasional" and "situa-

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tional" claims in o r d e r to argue t h a t t h e s e passages are n o t b i n d i n g o n w o m e n in all times a n d places. Thus, to defend "conservative" interpreta­ tions against Sprague's charges, H a w k i n s r e n d e r s t h e s e texts contextual, occasional, a n d situational, a n d therefore n o t eternally t r u e . H a w k i n s m a y quarrel, perhaps, w i t h Sprague's use of t h e w o r d nonsensical b u t h e finally agrees w i t h Sprague t h a t t h e s e t w o texts are n o t eternal truth. Further, w h a t Hawkins's p a p e r d o e s is to illustrate t h a t t h e issue is not biblical a u t h o r i t y b u t rather t h e character of biblical a u t h o r i t y a n d of biblical inter­ pretation. But Hawkins's i n a d e q u a t e use of context, his m i s u s e of logic, a n d his t e n d e n t i o u s readings of texts are n e i t h e r a g o o d instance of conser­ vative h e r m e n e u t i c s n o r t h e kind of critique Sprague's w o r k n e e d s .

Tex Sample is Robert B, and Kathleen Rogers Professor Emeritus of Church and Society at Saint Paul School of Theology, Kansas City, Missouri, He is an elder in the Missouri West Annual Conference,

Rejoinder to Tex Sample
RALPH K. HAWKINS

appreciate Dr. Sample's response to my article b u t m u s t take issue with h i m on a n u m b e r of points. M y c o m m e n t s will b e limited to t h e 1 Timothy passage, w h e r e Sample focuses his attention. 1. T h r o u g h o u t Sample's response, h e a s s u m e s t h a t patriarchalism a n d hierarchalism inform Paul's writing of t h e texts in question. To assume, for example, t h a t Paul's instruction to t h e w o m e n / w i v e s in 1 T i m o t h y is a n insistence t h a t t h e y b e submissive to m e n is just that—an a s s u m p t i o n . T h e text says n o t h i n g a b o u t to w h o m t h e w o m e n are to b e submissive. It w o u l d s e e m m o r e consistent w i t h Pauline t h e o l o g y to suggest t h a t h e is urging o b e d i e n c e t o God, n o t p a t r i a r c h y 2. Despite Sample's accusations that I "ignore" t h e larger, patriarchal context (301), it is within t h e context of patriarchalism—both in t h e Old and N e w Testament periods—that I seek to interpret t h e texts u n d e r discussion.

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Sample argues t h a t m y interpretation is "not 'in t h e text' b u t rather reads, quite candidly, like blaming t h e w o m e n in order t o avoid o w n i n g u p t o t h e patriarchal a n d hierarchical influences in 1 Timothy" (302). In m y recon­ struction, Paul's c o m m e n t s are n o t geared toward blaming t h e w o m e n , b u t towards s u p p o r t i n g their freedoms. T h e conflict in E p h e s u s led Paul t o prohibit t h e w o m e n there from teaching. T h e letter in its entirety suggests that any male teachers influenced by false teachers should n o t teach either. M e n o r w o m e n w h o had b e e n sufficiently t a u g h t a n d w h o s e doctrine remained free of heresy were free to teach. A l o n g this line, Paul's instruc­ tions were given n o t t o prevent w o m e n from learning Christian doctrine b u t to p e r m i t their learning of it: "Let a w o m a n learn" (v. 11). M y a r g u m e n t sees Paul n o t as "blaming" w o m e n b u t as e m p o w e r i n g t h e m . Recall t h a t w o m e n did have teaching roles a n d offices in t h e N e w Testament c h u r c h (e.g., Titus 2:3-4). Paul's instructions here were n o t t h a t a w o m a n could n o t teach b u t t h a t t h e y n e e d e d to c o n d u c t themselves in s u c h a way as n o t to u s u r p a u t h o r i t y over teachers w h o h a d already b e e n duly designated. Yes, t h e w o m e n are enjoined to b e "silent"; b u t I have argued t h a t this is a p o o r translation (291-92,294). T h e w o r d hesukia refers to a d e m e a n o r rather t h a n to total silence. Paul a n d o t h e r s i m p o s e this s a m e d e m e a n o r for m e n in several o t h e r passages (e.g., Acts 22:2). 3. Sample says, '"I permit n o woman* is hardly an occasional or situational statement, as Hawkins claims" (302). O n the contrary, Paul's statement here seems to have b e e n particularly addressed to t h e situation at Ephesus, since h e endorses w o m e n in leadership roles in other places (e.g., Rom. 16:1-3). 4. Sample argues that t h e order in which A d a m a n d Eve were created "gives precedence to m e n " and that Paul uses t h e Genesis text to make this point (302). As I argued, t h e creation account was n o t intended to give a n "order of creation" or a m o d e l for hierarchy (294-95) b u t served polemical and explanatory p u r p o s e s regarding t h e nature and p u r p o s e of t h e creation of m e n and w o m e n . Even for Calvin t h e "order of creation" did not seem to b e a solid ground for t h e subordination of women; and Luther understood that m e n and w o m e n were equal at creation and that t h e curse of Gen. 3:16 was a result of t h e Fall. To be sure, there was a traditional division b e t w e e n m e n and w o m e n in H e b r e w society; b u t chauvinistic attitudes did not begin to appear until a r o u n d t h e fourth or third centuries B.C.E. Even after this time, m u c h Jewish literature dealing with t h e Fall (or portions thereof) implicates A d a m alone (e.g., Sirach 15:14). Thus, I suggested that Paul's reference to t h e
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"order of creation" was an appeal for a return to a c o m p l e m e n t a r y role (294). 5. Sample concludes by suggesting that "Hawkins renders these texts contextual, occasional, a n d situational, a n d therefore n o t eternally true" (303). H e concludes that I "finally [agree] with Sprague that these two texts are n o t eternal truth" (303). Sample's effort to have m e ultimately side w i t h Sprague falls short in his failure to distinguish b e t w e e n w h a t is "true" a n d w h a t is "binding." All of Scripture is "true" but not all of it binding o n t h e Christian. T h e Old Testament prescribes sacrifice, but this is not binding for t h e Christian because Christ is t h e fulfillment of t h e sacrificial system. In t h e N e w Testament, Paul urges believers to greet o n e a n o t h e r w i t h a holy kiss, b u t this is n o t binding because it was a c u s t o m peculiar to their culture and n o t ours. Paul's injunctions in 1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy 2 were aimed at situations in Corinth and Ephesus, and it d o e s n o t necessarily follow that h e w a n t e d all w o m e n in all places and in all times to behave in exactly t h e s a m e way. For Paul's initial readers, his instructions w e r e b o t h true and binding. It was true that, in t h o s e places a n d u n d e r t h o s e circumstances, t h e wives should n o t teach until t h e y had themselves b e e n t a u g h t soundly. The principle would certainly remain applicable today: wherever w o m e n or m e n are led astray by heresy, their teaching o u g h t to b e restricted. This study of t h e passages from 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy has sought to serve as a test case for "neoliteralist" hermeneutics. Sprague has asked, "What is t h e biblical h e r m e n e u t i c at w o r k t h a t m a k e s rather obscure biblical texts definitive and exclusive regarding homosexuality, while t h e u n a m ­ biguous statement in 1 Timothy is either ignored or defied?" W h a t I have sought to show is that "neoliteralists" have n o t "ignored" or "defied" t h e 1 Timothy instructions (or t h o s e in 1 Corinthians) b u t have accepted e x p a n d e d roles for w o m e n based o n careful biblical s t u d y I a m n o t suggesting that t h e conclusions of conservative interpreters are inerrant b u t simply that t h e y have tried to be consistent in their hermeneutical approach to Scripture. It is this approach that allows us to advocate for e x p a n d e d roles for w o m e n while, at t h e s a m e time, upholding t h e church's position o n homosexuality.

Endnotes
1. John Calvin, Commentaries, trans, by William Pringle (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1981), 21:68; Martin Luther, Lectures on Genesis: Chapters 1-5 (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1958), 200-03.

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What do we mean by United Methodist

relatedness?

WILLIAM

B.

LAWRENCE

TED

BROWN

T n t h e pile of fresh mail o n e X m o r n i n g was a letter from t h e chief executive of an accredited theological school, asking for suggestions of p e r s o n s w h o might b e considered for a senior academic leadership position at his seminary. Attached t o t h e letter was a brief s t a t e m e n t describing b o t h t h e posi­ tion a n d t h e school. T h e description of t h e school, which is formally affil­ iated w i t h a n o t h e r d e n o m i n a t i o n , included a n o t e t h a t t h e institution has "close ties to t h e United M e t h o d i s t Church." Such claims—and disclaimers— a b o u t affiliations b e t w e e n ecclesias­ tical a n d educational institutions are curious things. W h e n t h e late Terry Sanford was a child in eastern N o r t h Carolina back in t h e 1920s, his parents took h i m to D u r h a m for a look at t h e n e w c a m p u s of D u k e University, which was t h e n u n d e r construction. H e recalled his parents saying to him, "Son, w e will never be able to afford w h a t it would cost to s e n d you to school here, b u t we continued on page 307

O

ver t h e years there has b e e n n o shortage of conversation a b o u t t h e m e a n i n g of church-relatedness, Study commissions and special task forces have c o m e a n d gone. Volumes have b e e n written and published. Conferences have b e e n hosted a n d adjourned. Yet t h e question n o w s e e m s n o closer to resolution t h a n w h e n it was first raised. As a practical matter, t h e r e is clarity a b o u t w h a t it m e a n s to b e United Methodist-related. T h e United M e t h o d i s t Book of Discipline charges its University Senate "to provide a n effective review process to e n s u r e that schools, colleges, universities a n d theological schools listed by t h e University Senate a n d qualifying for C h u r c h s u p p o r t have institutional integrity, well-struc­ t u r e d programs, s o u n d manage­ m e n t , a n d clearly defined C h u r c h relationships." In t h e latest version of t h e University Senate's Organization, Policies and Guidelines, "assessment criteria" are defined in e a c h of t h e s e areas a n d used as a
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continued from page 306 w a n t y o u to k n o w t h a t we are M e t h o d i s t s a n d t h a t this is our school."
1

D u k e , of course, was established by M e t h o d i s t s , a n d a U n i t e d M e t h o d i s t school of t h e o l o g y is part of t h e university. But did t h e Sanford family's conviction t h a t D u k e was a "Methodist" institution actually m a k e it one? D o e s a theological school t h a t is either i n d e p e n d e n t of any—or affili­ ated w i t h s o m e other—denomination have t h e freedom to advertise its "close ties to t h e U n i t e d M e t h o d i s t Church"? D o e s a university w i t h s o m e historic or organizational link to t h e c h u r c h have t h e freedom to define w h a t a meaningful relationship w i t h t h e c h u r c h is? A school may claim s o m e relationship w i t h a d e n o m i n a t i o n (even w h e n n o such relationship formally exists), b e c a u s e it m a y help in m a t t e r s of s t u d e n t r e c r u i t m e n t or fundraising. A c h u r c h m a y claim s o m e relation­ ship w i t h a college or university (even w h e n t h a t relationship is t e n u o u s at best), b e c a u s e s u c h a n affiliation m a y s e e m to e n h a n c e t h e prestige of t h e denomination. But educational a n d ecclesiastical institutions w i t h affiliations a n d rela­ tionships are often w a r y of o n e another. A significant spirit of anti-intellectualism inhabits t h e soul of t h e A m e r i c a n church, a n d m a n y p e r s o n s have b e e n w a r n e d a b o u t t h e dangers of having their faith e d u c a t e d o u t of t h e m . A substantial a m o u n t of fear exists o n m a n y a c a d e m i c c a m p u s e s t h a t any e m p h a s i s o n c h u r c h c o n n e c t i o n could h a r m s t u d e n t r e c r u i t m e n t o r fundraising a m o n g s o m e constituencies. Further, t h e faculty m a y fret over w h e t h e r t h e y will b e required to sign s t a t e m e n t s of belief regarding their p e r s o n a l views and t h e c o n t e n t of their teaching. As a result, a c a d e m i c and ecclesiastical bodies m a y deny, disclaim, or discreetly overlook affiliations w i t h o n e another. T h e United M e t h o d i s t C h u r c h a n d its predecessor d e n o m i n a t i o n s claim to have established m o r e t h a n 1,200 schools, colleges, a n d universities, with a b o u t 10 p e r c e n t of t h e m still in a relationship w i t h t h e church. That d o e s n o t m e a n 90 percent of t h e academic units founded by t h e church have g o n e o u t of business. S o m e are thriving institutions. For instance, Wesleyan University in Connecticut, Vanderbilt University in Nashville, a n d t h e University of S o u t h e r n California in Los Angeles, all were founded by earlier generations of Methodists. But they have disaffiliated and have formally declared themselves to b e i n d e p e n d e n t a n d unrelated to t h e church.
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A m o n g t h e 123 academic institutions listed by t h e c h u r c h as "United Methodist-related," t h e definition of "United Methodist-related" varies. S o m e schools (for example, Syracuse University, D r e w University, a n d t h e University of Denver) consider themselves "independent." O t h e r s (for example, H i g h Point University a n d Dillard) d o acknowledge their historic affiliation w i t h t h e c h u r c h b u t s e e m cautious a b o u t going b e y o n d that. Yet o t h e r s (for example, E m o r y University a n d S o u t h e r n M e t h o d i s t University) are "owned" by t h e church. But e v e n w h e r e t h e church—through a n a n n u a l or jurisdictional conference or s o m e o t h e r U n i t e d M e t h o d i s t entity— "owns" t h e a c a d e m i c institution, s u c h o w n e r s h i p d o e s n o t necessarily yield a specific definition of w h a t it m e a n s t o b e United Methodist-related. Regardless of t h e formal character of a n ecclesiastical-academic rela­ tionship, it is w o r t h c o n s i d e r i n g t h r e e possible m o d e l s of "relatedness" b e t w e e n t h e c h u r c h a n d t h e institution of higher education. For conve­ nience, let u s call t h e m parental partner, a n d parallel m o d e l s . A parental m o d e l sees t h e college or university as t h e institution t h a t t h e church b i r t h e d a n d n u r t u r e d . T h e r e is a natural desire t o care for t h e a c a d e m i c institution t h a t t h e c h u r c h created. T h e r e c a n also b e a desire t o control it, p e r h a p s (in a b e n i g n sense) t o p r e v e n t it from falling victim t o s o m e p r e d a t o r y forces o r p e r h a p s (in a m a l i g n a n t sense) t o m a i n t a i n domi­ n a t i o n of it. In t h e long run, this p a r e n t a l m o d e l c a n n o t succeed in building a strong a c a d e m i c e n v i r o n m e n t any m o r e t h a n a controlling p a r e n t can n u r t u r e a wise and m a t u r e child. T h e c h u r c h m u s t allow its "offspring" t o discover t h e best way t o accomplish its o w n mission—which, after all, is w h y t h e c h u r c h created it in t h e first place. In a partner m o d e l , t h e u n i v e r s i t y a n d t h e c h u r c h s h a r e r e s p o n s i ­ bility for a c a d e m i c a n d ecclesiastical roles. This s o u n d s like a m a t u r e a n d professional w a y t o r e s p e c t e a c h o t h e r ' s f r e e d o m t o a c c o m p l i s h t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e a s s i g n m e n t s . B u t t h e t r u t h is t h e c h u r c h d o e s n o t w a n t t h e university t o i n t r u d e o n its w o r k a n y m o r e t h a n t h e university w a n t s t h e c h u r c h to d i c t a t e its policies. F o r i n s t a n c e , in a U n i t e d M e t h o d i s t t h e o ­ logical school, t h e w o r k of e d u c a t i o n for m i n i s t r y is r e l a t e d t o d e c i s i o n s a b o u t o r d i n a t i o n to ministry. But b o a r d s of o r d a i n e d m i n i s t r y a n d clergy s e s s i o n s of a n n u a l c o n f e r e n c e s d o n o t w a n t t o c e d e t o t h e a c a d e m y t h e i r obligation for d i s c e r n i n g a n individual's call t o o r gifts for ministry. A n d divinity s c h o o l s d o n o t w a n t t o c e d e t o ecclesiastical b o d i e s t h e obliga­ t i o n t o j u d g e t h e intellectual credibility of r e s e a r c h i n t o biblical, histor-

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ical, o r ethical q u e s t i o n s . T h e p a r t n e r m o d e l d o e s n o t work, b e c a u s e it r e q u i r e s y o k i n g v e r y different a n i m a l s w i t h distinctive capacities for d i s t i n g u i s h e d service. T h e parallel m o d e l d o e s have s o m e p r o m i s e for defining U n i t e d Methodist-relatedness, however. Parallel lines r e m a i n in a c o n s i s t e n t rela­ tionship w i t h each other; b u t p a r t of t h e relationship requires m a i n t a i n i n g a consistent distance from each other. C o m m u n i c a t i o n is essential to e n s u r e t h a t t h e a p p r o p r i a t e distance is m a i n t a i n e d by b o t h . It is also crucial t h a t t h e two r e m a i n faithful to their distinctive missions, so t h a t t h e y m a i n t a i n m o v e m e n t toward their goals. But if t h e y draw t o o close t o g e t h e r or get entangled, t h e y will d o worse t h a n destroy their relation­ ship. Also, t h e y will lose contact with their individual mission tracks. Therefore, to b e a U n i t e d Methodist-related academic institution is to m a i n t a i n active c o m m u n i c a t i o n w i t h t h e church, articulate a distinctive mission, b e h o n e s t a b o u t t h e i m p o r t a n c e of h o n o r i n g t h e separating distance, a n d respect o n e a n o t h e r ' s u n i q u e role in t h e g r a n d e s t of M e t h o d i s t visions. That vision is to reform t h e c o n t i n e n t a n d s p r e a d scriptural holiness over t h e land, Methodists created educational institutions because reforming t h e conti­ n e n t required educating t h e people (not just t h e M e t h o d i s t people, a n d n o t just a b o u t Methodist matters). A healthy, consistent, parallel distance b e t w e e n church and academy is still t h e best way t o p u r s u e that vision. A n d , along t h e way, w e U n i t e d M e t h o d i s t s have t o b e vigilant a b o u t t h o s e w h o m a y claim "close ties" to o u r church. Their p u r p o s e in d o i n g so m a y n o t b e to h o n o r o u r mission b u t to e n t a n g l e themselves in o u r life, A n d t h a t could certainly cause us to lose o u r way. William B. Lawrence is Dean and Professor of American Church History at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.

Endnotes
1. Sanford did not earn a degree from Duke but did serve as its president for sixteen years. 2. Handbook of United Methodist-Related Schools, Colleges, Universities, and Theological Schools (Nashville: The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, 2004), 5.

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continued from page 306 set of s t a n d a r d s to review t h e 123 institutions currently related to T h e U n i t e d M e t h o d i s t Church. The criteria o n church-relatedness refer to t h e "marks of church rela­ tionship w h i c h s h o u l d b e manifested if an institution is t o b e related m e a n ­ ingfully to T h e U n i t e d M e t h o d i s t Church." T h e s e m a r k s include • Self-identification as church-related t h r o u g h mission s t a t e m e n t a n d p r i n t e d materials • Curricular e v i d e n c e of t h e c h u r c h c o n n e c t i o n • Worship a n d service o p p o r t u n i t i e s for t h e college family • Exploration of t h e place of religion in curricular a n d co-curricular

activities
• Exploration of t h e place of religion in t h e larger society • Recognition of t h e Social Principles of T h e U n i t e d M e t h o d i s t C h u r c h • Institutional leadership t h a t u n d e r s t a n d s a n d respects t h e church connection Helpful as t h e s e criteria are in providing g u i d a n c e for t h e work of t h e United M e t h o d i s t University Senate, t h e y r e p r e s e n t a one-sided view of t h e c h u r c h - c o l l e g e relationship. T h e t r u t h is, a church-related college requires a college-related church. W h a t d o e s it m e a n for T h e U n i t e d M e t h o d i s t C h u r c h t o b e meaningfully related t o its educational institutions? W h a t are t h e "marks" of a c h u r c h t h a t takes its e d u c a t i o n a l mission seriously? T h e Discipline says little a n d t h e University Senate n o t h i n g a b o u t t h e criteria for being a college-related church. According to t h e Oxford English Dictionary, t h e earliest uses of t h e w o r d s relate a n d relationship date back to 1490 a n d c o n n o t e "being b o r n e or t h r u s t in b e t w e e n things" a n d "to have o r m a k e reference to." Thus, a relationship is s o m e t h i n g t h a t exists b e t w e e n t w o entities. As t w o entities begin m e a n ­ ingful interaction, a n e w reality c o m e s into being. As that n e w reality develops, each entity begins to redefine its self-understanding in reference to t h e relationship. A genuine, meaningful relationship b e t w e e n church a n d college requires lines of c o m m u n i c a t i o n a n d links of organization t h a t lead to regular a n d natural interaction. It entails a mutuality of u n d e r s t a n d i n g a n d a g e n u i n e e m p a t h y for t h e challenges a n d n e e d s of t h e partner.
3 2

T h e c u r r e n t c h u r c h - c o l l e g e c o n n e c t i o n in T h e U n i t e d M e t h o d i s t C h u r c h falls s h o r t of b e i n g a t r u e relationship in this historical s e n s e of t h e word. It s e e m s m o r e rhetorical t h a n e m p a t h e t i c . With n o t a b l e exceptions,

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t h e d e n o m i n a t i o n struggles to u n d e r s t a n d its mission in higher e d u c a t i o n a n d is less t h a n motivated to b e c o m e a t r u e partner. In addition, m a n y of o u r colleges have b e c o m e cynical about, if n o t d o w n r i g h t indifferent to, t h e c h u r c h relationship. Even t h o s e institutions that have m a i n t a i n e d t h e lines of c o m m u n i c a t i o n w i t h t h e church bring a limited a m o u n t of imagination a n d e n e r g y to t h e c o n n e c t i o n . T h e t r u e potential of t h e c h u r c h - c o l l e g e c o n n e c t i o n is certainly n o t b e i n g realized. United M e t h o d i s t colleges bear a significant responsibility as t h e y consider revitalizing t h e church-college connection. In particular, t h e y m u s t improve their ability to bring value to t h e relationship. A n often-heard refrain o n o u r campuses follows t h e t h e m e "Just being t h e best liberal arts college we can be is o u r best service to t h e church." There is a case to b e m a d e for t h a t assertion. But t h e t r u t h is that t h e fundamental mission of a liberal-arts college is several levels removed from t h e p r o b l e m s currently facing t h e d e n o m i n a t i o n , especially t h e challenges of static m e m b e r s h i p and diminishing leadership. T h e United M e t h o d i s t C h u r c h n e e d s its colleges n o w m o r e t h a n ever; for, w h e n it c o m e s to m o d e r n culture, t h e y are a m o n g t h e m o s t relevant and vital of its ministries. Unfortunately, at just t h e time w h e n t h e church's n e e d is greatest, o u r colleges s e e m inattentive a n d unin­ spired w h e n it c o m e s to t h e church connection. O u r colleges m u s t not b e coy a b o u t their role in recruiting leadership for t h e churches or even in r e c o m m e n d i n g t h e d e n o m i n a t i o n t o their students. United M e t h o d i s t colleges represent t h e best source for future church professionals; yet t h e task of challenging s t u d e n t s to consider church vocations is a m o n g t h e m o s t h a p h a z a r d things colleges do. Further, t h e colleges are a m o n g t h e church's best sources for educating c o m m i t t e d lay leaders; yet only a handful of colleges have systematic a p p r o a c h e s to identi­ fying and training future lay leaders. Perhaps m o s t telling, o u r colleges repre­ sent a vital source for potential church m e m b e r s ; b u t few, if any, of o u r insti­ tutions really encourage s t u d e n t s to consider church m e m b e r s h i p . Academic freedom d e m a n d s that we a p p r o a c h this agenda w i t h care, b u t it certainly d o e s not require that w e forfeit t h e church c o n n e c t i o n altogether. There are significant structural challenges that m u s t b e faced squarely if we are to revitalize t h e church-college connection. In t h e organization of t h e d e n o m i n a t i o n , institutions of higher e d u c a t i o n have their c o n n e c t i o n s t h r o u g h t h e annual conference. From an efficiency perspective, this may b e the logical locus. However, in t e r m s of effectiveness, c o n n e c t i n g an institu-

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tion t h r o u g h t h e a n n u a l conference offers little t o assure t h e c o n t i n u i n g vitality of t h e relationship. The challenges t h e church faces—especially t h o s e that may b e aided by t h e colleges—are rarely addressed at t h e annual confer­ e n c e level: leadership development, m e m b e r s h i p growth, stewardship. Conversely, t h e a n n u a l conference provides only symbolic access to t h e things t h e colleges n e e d most: visibility, students, dollars, a n d volunteer leadership. From t h e perspective of a d d i n g vitality to t h e c o n n e c t i o n b e t w e e n church a n d college, w e n e e d to explore ways of directly linking institutions with local churches. O n January 4,1758, J o h n Wesley n o t e d in his journal, "I r o d e to Kingswood, a n d rejoiced over t h e School, which is at length what I have so long wished it to be—a blessing to all that are therein, and a benefit to t h e whole b o d y of Methodists." In a sentence, Wesley s u m m a r i z e d the h o p e a n d potential of t h e church's mission in education. N o t only d o our colleges have a responsibility t o "bless" o u r s t u d e n t s b u t also to b e a genuine benefit to the church. Likewise, following t h e Christmas Conference of 1784, Bishop Francis A s b u r y wrote to all Methodists, explaining their obligation to estab­ lish a school in t h e proximity of every church in order "to give the key of knowledge to your children and t h o s e of t h e p o o r in t h e vicinity of your small towns and villages." From its very beginning, American M e t h o d i s m prescribed a close connection b e t w e e n educational institutions and local churches. It was never m e a n t to b e a purely rhetorical relationship based o n theology; it was to b e a pragmatic and beneficial partnership o n b o t h sides. Ted Brown is President of Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, Tennessee.
4

Endnotes
1. The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church-2000 United Methodist Publishing House, 2000), If 1415.3. (Nashville: The

2. The University Senate, The United Methodist Church: Organization, Policies and Guidelines (Nashville: General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, 2003), 23. 3. "Relate," "Relation," The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd. ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), 2126. 4. The Works of John Wesley (Jackson) ( F r a n k l i n , T N : P r o v i d e n c e H o u s e Publishers, 1995), 2:433.

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A Word o n The Word

Lectionary

Study

JAMES

W.

MOORE

T

h e G o s p e l readings for Advent 2004 are all t a k e n from t h e G o s p e l of Matthew. The reading for t h e first S u n d a y of A d v e n t (Matt, 24:36-44) is t h e "be ready" passage, anticipating t h e c o m i n g of t h e "Son of Man." T h e lection for t h e s e c o n d S u n d a y (Matt. 3:1-12) finds J o h n t h e Baptist p r e a c h i n g r e p e n t a n c e a n d p r e p a r i n g t h e way of t h e Lord. T h e third Sunday's reading (Matt. 11:2-11) c o n t a i n s a remarkable exchange b e t w e e n J o h n t h e Baptist (by way of s o m e of his disciples) a n d Jesus. In r e s p o n s e to their q u e s t i o n 'Are y o u t h e o n e w h o is to c o m e , or are we t o wait for another?" Jesus observes, "Go a n d tell J o h n w h a t y o u h e a r and see: t h e blind receive their sight, t h e lame walk, t h e lepers are cleansed, t h e deaf hear, t h e d e a d are raised, a n d t h e p o o r have g o o d n e w s b r o u g h t to t h e m " (w, 3-4). T h e lection for t h e fourth S u n d a y of A d v e n t (Matt. 1:18-25) chron­ icles t h e a c c o u n t of Jesus' birth. Perplexed by all t h a t is going on, J o s e p h is reassured by a message from t h e angel, culminating in t h e powerful promise, "'Look, t h e virgin shall conceive a n d b e a r a son, a n d t h e y shall n a m e h i m Emmanuel, which m e a n s , ' G o d is w i t h us'" (v. 23).
1

To get into these passages from Matthew's Gospel, it helps to under­ stand t h e relationship of this Gospel to t h e o t h e r three Gospels, T h e Gospel of Mark is written like an Alfred Hitchcock thriller a n d is best u n d e r s t o o d w h e n read straight t h r o u g h in o n e sitting. It contains few sayings a n d lots of parables, a n d it moves fast. The key word is immediately, and there is a rising crescendo of hostility against Jesus until, finally, h e is crucified. T h e n it is as if t h e curtain closes, o p e n s again, and there is t h e Resurrection—only to close again quickly Afterwards, t h e reader is left o u t of breath. T h e G o s p e l of Luke is w r i t t e n to s h o w us t h a t Jesus is n o t just t h e Jewish Messiah b u t t h e Lord a n d Savior of t h e world. This G o s p e l (which, w i t h Acts, is a two-volume work) lifts u p outcasts a n d Samaritans a n d w o m e n . It is fascinating to n o t e w h a t is u n i q u e t o Luke. For example, t h e

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a c c o u n t s of t h e Prodigal Son, t h e G o o d Samaritan, Z a c c h a e u s , t h e Pharisee a n d t h e tax collector, t h e grateful Samaritan leper, t h e genealogy of Jesus (going back to Adam), t h e p e n i t e n t thief o n t h e cross, t h e s h e p h e r d s c o m i n g to t h e manger, t h e "Father forgive t h e m " w o r d s from t h e c r o s s - a l l of these a m a z i n g biblical passages are found o n l y in t h e G o s p e l of Luke. There is a s t r o n g e m p h a s i s o n t h e b i r t h stories a n d o n t h e Resurrection. M a n y scholars believe t h a t Luke (and t h e Apostles' Creed) were w r i t t e n to refute Gnosticisim a n d Ebionism. The Gospel of J o h n is philosophical in t o n e and differs from the Synoptic Gospels in order, chronology, a n d phraseology. There are n o para­ bles but, instead, allegories and "I am" statements. Only a b o u t 8 percent of this G o s p e l has any parallel in t h e o t h e r Gospels. While t h e Synoptics emphasize t h e k i n g d o m of God, J o h n focuses o n eternal life. The p u r p o s e of John's Gospel is stated clearly in 20:30-31: "Now Jesus did m a n y other signs in the presence of t h e disciples, which are n o t written in this book. But t h e s e are written that you m a y c o m e to believe t h a t Jesus is t h e Messiah, t h e Son of God, a n d t h r o u g h believing in h i m you m a y have life in his name." The G o s p e l of M a t t h e w is t h e "Jewish Gospel," w r i t t e n for Jews a n d Jewish Christians to convince readers t h a t Jesus was i n d e e d t h e Messiah predicted by t h e Old T e s t a m e n t p r o p h e t s . This G o s p e l is a systematic, c o m p r e h e n s i v e m a n u a l of t h e life of Christ a n d of biblical theology. It is i n t e n d e d for c h u r c h u s e (perhaps t h e first c h u r c h - m e m b e r s h i p manual) a n d is t h e only G o s p e l t h a t m e n t i o n s t h e word church. This G o s p e l is arranged carefully w i t h topics t h a t are easy to r e m e m b e r , suggesting a context in which t h e church's life was well organized a n d subject to a carefully conceived m o r a l code. M a t t h e w c o m p a r e s M o s e s a n d Jesus as lawgivers. Both w e r e saved from infant d e a t h at t h e h a n d s of wicked kings. Both gave inspired law from t h e m o u n t a i n t o p , p r o m p t i n g s o m e scholars to refer to M a t t h e w as "The N e w Law." The writer draws o n other sources b u t feels free to add to, rearrange, and rewrite t h e m . While h e follows t h e basic outline of Mark, M a t t h e w organizes Jesus' sayings into units—for example, t h e S e r m o n on t h e M o u n t in chapters 5 - 7 and a series of parables o n t h e kingdom of G o d in chapter 13. H e defends Christianity against charges of heresy. Far from being a heretical group, h e avers, Christians are t h e N e w Israel. M a t t h e w often links events to t h e Old T e s t a m e n t and, unlike Mark, c o m m e n c e s his G o s p e l w i t h a genealogy of Jesus t h a t moves back t h r o u g h

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David to A b r a h a m . A n d while Mark e m p h a s i z e s Jesus' miracles, M a t t h e w lays stress o n t h e Lord's teaching. We are fortunate to have all four of t h e Gospels. But w e are e v e n m o r e fortunate to have t h e Christ of w h o m t h e y speak.

November 28, 2004-First Sunday of Advent
M a t t . 24:36-44; ha. 2:1-5; Ps. 122; Rom, 13:11-14 This difficult passage is a b o u t t h e Second C o m i n g a n d t h e i m p o r t a n c e of b e i n g spiritually r e a d y awake, a n d watchful. We k n o w from history t h a t s o m e g r o u p s have t a k e n this t h e m e to s u c h e x t r e m e s t h a t t h e y use all their e n e r g y watching a n d longing for t h e Second C o m i n g ; consequently, t h e y d o n o t h i n g creative, constructive, or c o m p a s s i o n a t e in their daily lives. W h e n I was in fourth grade, m y teacher, Mrs. Gladfelter, w o u l d say, "Boys a n d girls, get o u t your m a t h b o o k s a n d t u r n to exercise 37.1 have t o go to t h e office. Work o n t h e exercise while I a m gone." After she h a d gone, o n e s t u d e n t would go to t h e d o o r to watch for h e r return. All t h e o t h e r s t u d e n t s w o u l d t h r o w p a p e r wads, pull pigtails, sleep, walk a r o u n d t h e r o o m , or look o u t t h e window. N o b o d y would d o a n y t h i n g constructive. Soon t h e s t u d e n t at t h e d o o r would yell, "Here she c o m e s I" E v e r y b o d y w o u l d grab their m a t h b o o k s a n d p r e t e n d to b e studying. S o m e t h i n g like t h a t c a n h a p p e n in o u r spiritual lives if we p u s h t h e "watching a n d waiting" for t h e Second C o m i n g to extremes. Even worse, in s o m e cases tragic results have occurred w h e n s o m e reli­ gious leader a n n o u n c e d w i t h great d r a m a t h e exact m o m e n t of Christ's r e t u r n (even t h o u g h t h e Scriptures m a k e it quite clear t h a t only G o d k n o w s t h e day and t h e hour). People caught u p in t h e fervor of their leader's p r o n o u n c e m e n t have (at t h e precise m o m e n t predicted by their leader) j u m p e d off cliffs o r o u t of trees to fly into t h e a r m s of t h e r e t u r n i n g Christ. T h e results w e r e tragic. W h a t insight can w e d r a w from this passage for o u r lives today? I see t h r e e key truths. 1. O n l y G o d k n o w s t h e day a n d t h e hour; so o u r calling is n o t to specu­ late a b o u t t h a t b u t to b e ready a n d to live every day as if it were t h e day w h e n Christ returns. 2. These forceful verses challenge us to get o u r priorities s t r a i g h t - t o n o t focus o n material t h i n g s b u t t o "set o u r affections o n t h i n g s above," o n t h e eternal things t h a t d o n o t r u s t a n d corrode.

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3. This passage r e m i n d s u s t h a t w e are ultimately a c c o u n t a b l e t o G o d and, t h u s , t o p r e p a r e a n d b e r e a d y for that.

December 5 2004—Second Sunday of Advent
f

Matt. 3:1-12; ha. 11:1-10; Ps. 72:1-7,18-19; Rom. 15:4-13 O n e of t h e m o s t colorful characters in all of biblical literature explodes o n t h e scene in M a t t h e w 3. Wearing clothes m a d e of camel's hair a n d a leather belt a n d eating wild locusts a n d honey, J o h n t h e Baptist arrives to p r e p a r e t h e way for t h e c o m i n g of t h e Christ. J o h n n e v e r m i n c e s w o r d s b u t s p e a k s boldly a n d c o u r a g e o u s l y J o h n fearlessly r e b u k e s evil w h e r e v e r h e sees it. Kings, religious leaders, o r d i n a r y folks—all equally faced t h e Baptist's u n h e s i t a t i n g r e b u k e if t h e y w e r e d o i n g w r o n g . After years of b e i n g silent, t h e voice of p r o p h e c y r e s o u n d s o n c e m o r e in J o h n t h e Baptist. H e shines a bright light o n t h e evil h e sees a n d gets p e o p l e r e a d y for t h e a d v e n t of Jesus Christ, w h o is t h e light of t h e world. With great urgency, h e calls p e o p l e t o repent, t o t u r n a r o u n d , t o d o a n about-face! It is as if h e is saying, "Turn away from y o u r evil ways a n d t u r n toward righteousness!" In o t h e r words, J o h n n o t o n l y r e b u k e d sinfulness, h e also called p e o p l e t o righteousness. Magnanimously, J o h n p o i n t s b e y o n d himself t o Jesus. H e calls p e o p l e n o t to fall d o w n before h i m b u t t o get r e a d y t o follow t h e Messiah (cf. Mai. 4:5). In John's time, t h e p e o p l e believed t h a t Elijah would r e t u r n t o u s h e r in t h e day of t h e Lord. H e r e is J o h n t h e Baptist, dressed like Elijah (camel's hair a n d leather belt), a n n o u n c i n g t h a t t h e t i m e for t h e Messiah's arrival has indeed come. King S o l o m o n built m a n y r o a d s d u r i n g his reign. S o m e of t h e s e w e r e paved a n d w e r e k n o w n as "the King's highway." T h e p r o p h e t Isaiah u s e s this imagery in chap. 40:3, w h e n h e proclaims, "In t h e wilderness p r e p a r e t h e way of t h e LORD, make straight in t h e d e s e r t a highway for o u r God." M a t t h e w c o n n e c t s t h e ministry of J o h n t h e Baptist w i t h Isaiah's p r o n o u n c e m e n t . Thus, J o h n reiterates t h e p r o p h e t ' s s u m m o n s t o "make straight" a royal highway (3:3), for t h e King of Kings is o n his way!

December 12,2004-Third Sunday of Advent
Matt. 11:2-11; ha. 35:1-10; Luke 1:47-55; Jas. 5:7-10 W h a t a n a m a z i n g passage this is! J o h n t h e Baptist has b e e n arrested b y King H e r o d a n d t h r o w n in prison. J o h n w a n t s Jesus t o h u r r y u p a n d bring in his

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Kingdom, t o "zap" t h e R o m a n s a n d w i t h his p o w e r quickly t o create a n e w era of peace, prosperity, a n d tranquility. J o h n t h e Baptist a n d Jesus w e r e relatives and, as relatives s o m e t i m e s are w o n t t o do, J o h n b e c o m e s a little impatient w i t h Jesus. So, as only o n e cousin could say to another, J o h n (via his disciples) confronts Jesus w i t h a p o i n t e d question: "Are y o u t h e o n e w h o is t o come, or are w e t o wait for another?" (v. 3), In o t h e r words, J o h n wants to know, "What are y o u waiting for? What's t h e holdup? W h e n are y o u going t o get with t h e program? W h y d o n ' t y o u h u r r y u p a n d establish this K i n g d o m w e have all b e e n longing a n d praying a n d waiting for?" Jesus' r e s p o n s e t o J o h n is o n e of t h e m o u n t a i n - p e a k m o m e n t s in all of Scripture. H e says t o John's disciples, "Go a n d tell J o h n w h a t y o u h e a r a n d see: t h e blind receive their sight, t h e l a m e walk, t h e lepers are cleansed, t h e deaf hear, t h e d e a d are raised, a n d t h e p o o r have g o o d n e w s b r o u g h t t o t h e m " ( w . 4-5). W h a t w a s Jesus saying t o John—and i n d e e d t o us? Simply this: Real life is i n t h e t u r b u l e n c e . T h e K i n g d o m is n o t f o u n d i n s o m e comfortable n e s t insulated from t h e p r o b l e m s of t h e world. T h e K i n g d o m is t h e p o w e r of love reaching o u t to t h o s e w h o are needy, sick, broken, a n d h u r t i n g a n d bringing t h e m help a n d h o p e a n d healing. There t h e K i n g d o m is present; that is w h a t t h e K i n g d o m is about. W h e r e v e r acts of love, compassion, a n d k i n d n e s s are h a p p e n i n g , t h e r e is t h e Kingdom. G o d ' s k i n g d o m is found n o t in military might or wealth o r p o w e r o r force o r political clout b u t in gracious acts of love. T h e K i n g d o m consists in love a n d sacrifice a n d service t o others. Jesus pays tribute t o John, saying, "Truly I tell you, a m o n g t h o s e b o r n of w o m e n n o o n e h a s arisen greater t h a n J o h n t h e Baptist" (v. 11). J o h n is t h e forerunner, t h e messenger, t h e p r o p h e t . Then, as w a s s o often t h e case, Jesus e n d s w i t h a thought-provoking s t a t e m e n t , "Yet t h e least in t h e k i n g d o m of heaven is greater t h a n h e " (v. l i b ) . This m e a n s t h a t J o h n w a s pre-Easter. H e did n o t e x p e r i e n c e t h e full w o r k of C h r i s t - t h e m e a n i n g of his d e a t h o n t h e cross a n d of his resurrection a n d ascension.

December 19,2004—Fourth Sunday of Advent
Matt 1:18-25; ha. 7:10-16; Ps. 80:1-7,17-19; Rom. 1:1-7 This is o n e of t h e m o s t p r o f o u n d passages in all of Scripture, b e c a u s e it r e m i n d s u s dramatically of G o d ' s greatest p r o m i s e t o always b e w i t h usl Later, in R o m a n s 8, t h e apostle Paul u n d e r s c o r e s this t h e m e , proclaiming

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t h a t nothing, n o t even d e a t h , can separate us from t h e love of G o d in Christ Jesus. Every year, t h e r e is a great longing to b e " h o m e for Christmas." Everywhere w e go in t h e days t h a t lead u p to C h r i s t m a s we have this longing. T i l Be H o m e for Christmas." This is precisely w h a t this classic passage in M a t t h e w 1 d o e s for us. It brings us h o m e to t h e real m e a n i n g of Christmas, t o t h e m o s t magnificent t r u t h in all of t h e Bible, to o u r Lord's greatest promise: Emmanuel, God is with us! W h e n we accept Christ as Savior a n d c o m m i t o u r lives to him, n o t h i n g can separate us from h i m a n d his love. G o d is always w i t h us—that is w h a t C h r i s t m a s is all about. The great people of faith have always believed in G o d ' s steadfast, unfail­ ing promise t o b e with t h e m . Take Moses. C a u g h t in a seemingly hopeless situation b e t w e e n Pharaoh and t h e d e e p Red Sea, h e believed G o d was with him. So he w e n t forward trusting G o d to o p e n a way—and G o d did! O r consider Shadrach, Meshach, a n d A b e d n e g o . They e n t e r e d a fiery furnace trusting G o d to b e with them—and G o d was! Likewise, little David s t o o d before t h e mighty Goliath. W h a t c h a n c e did a small b o y w i t h a sling­ s h o t have against this giant of a warrior? But David believed t h a t G o d was w i t h him—and it m a d e all t h e difference! It is interesting to n o t e that w h e n M a t t h e w w a n t e d to capture t h e m e a n i n g of Christmas—that is, t h e m e a n i n g of t h e Christ-event—he reached back into t h e Old Testament, pulled o u t a n old word, d u s t e d it off, a n d used it to convey t h e message. T h e w o r d was Emmanuel. E m m a n u e l , "God is w i t h us," is w h a t Jesus is all about. A n d a n y o n e w h o believes this p r o m i s e a n d accepts a n d claims it, will find his or her life transformed. In m a n y ways, J o s e p h is t h e forgotten m a n of Christmas. Yet he has m u c h t o teach us. A C h r i s t m a s card featuring a painting of t h e manger s c e n e by a fifteenth-century artist n a m e d Ghirlandaio has b e e n making t h e r o u n d s in r e c e n t years. It depicts M a r y a n d t h e b a b y Jesus in t h e fore­ ground, s u r r o u n d e d by t h e s h e p h e r d s a n d t h e animals. Joseph, however, is in t h e b a c k g r o u n d , looking u p into t h e h e a v e n s w i t h a quizzical look o n his face. H e is scratching his head, as if t o say, "I d o n ' t get itl W h a t in t h e world is going o n here?" T h e great lesson we learn from J o s e p h is t h a t even t h o u g h h e did n o t u n d e r s t a n d all of w h a t was going o n at t h a t first Christmas, h e accepted, welcomed, a n d celebrated it. Even t h o u g h h e was likely bewildered by it all, h e e m b r a c e d Christmas. H e w e l c o m e d t h e Christ-child into his life w i t h o p e n arms.

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We are so m u c h like Joseph. We c a n n o t possibly c o m p r e h e n d t h e full m e a n i n g of Christmas. But t h e g o o d n e w s is, w e d o n ' t have to. Like Joseph, all we have to d o is t r u s t G o d a n d e m b r a c e a n d celebrate t h e astonishing n e w s of Christmas: " E m m a n u e l . . . G o d is w i t h usl"

James W. Moore is Senior Minister at St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas.

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A Word o n The Word

I s s u e s In: Continuing

Theological Education for

Clergywomen

BETH

LUTON

COOK

S

o m e t h i n g simply m u s t b e d o n e . T h e findings of a 2002 Pulpit & Pew study are less t h a n shocking for m a n y of us w h o c o n t i n u e to witness t h e growing n u m b e r of pastors leaving local church ministries. T h e Pulpit Si Pew research r e p o r t shows that w o m e n a n d m e n c o n t i n u e t o exit t h e pulpit a n d find v e n u e s o t h e r t h a n t h e local church to live o u t their ordination. Reasons include disillusionment w i t h t h e itinerant system, family needs, a n d financial hardship. N o t surprisingly, this t r e n d is even m o r e prevalent a m o n g w o m e n clergy. A 1997 s t u d y o n clergywomen retention in T h e United M e t h o d i s t Church, published by t h e General Board of Higher Education a n d Ministry a n d t h e A n n a H o w a r d Shaw C e n t e r of Boston University School of Theology, revealed that w o m e n w e r e leaving parish ministry in greater n u m b e r s t h a n their male c o u n t e r p a r t s . M a n y find their place in s o m e form of extension ministry, w h e r e specialized ministry can b e d o n e "beneath t h e radar screen" of t h e b i s h o p a n d cabinet. O t h e r s c h o o s e simply to relinquish their orders, foregoing t h e substantial cost incurred while following their call into ministry. All t h e s e decisions to exit c o m e w i t h great costs t o t h e individual, t h e local church, a n d t h e d e n o m i n a t i o n . In this article, I m a k e a case for c o n t i n u i n g theological e d u c a t i o n t h a t addresses t h e whole p e r s o n in ministry. I argue for a form of theological education that is m o r e t h a n a cerebral q u e s t for knowledge a n d that e m b o d i e s w h a t we say w e believe. I describe a continuing-education o p p o r t u n i t y called "Covenant Colleagues," which seeks t o answer t h e c o n c e r n s and cries of clergywomen in their first t e n years of ministry, as well as challenge t h e m to further their theological s t u d y in t h e years following ordination.
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The fact t h a t a n y o n e voluntarily d e p a r t s parish ministry should raise c o n c e r n for t h e church; b u t it s e e m s t h a t institutional a t t e n t i o n is triggered only w h e n t h e effects of t h o s e d e p a r t u r e s have d r a m a t i c m o n e t a r y impact. Of p r i m a r y c o n c e r n is t h e cost invested in t h e individual while a t t e n d i n g seminary. With t h e c o n t i n u e d forecast of a lack of elders t o replace t h o s e

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w h o will b e retiring in t h e next five-to-ten years, every dollar s p e n t to e d u c a t e their r e p l a c e m e n t s is of vital i m p o r t a n c e . This fact, c o u p l e d w i t h t h e rising costs of a s e m i n a r y e d u c a t i o n a n d t h e decline of t h e Ministerial E d u c a t i o n Fund, should cause t h e c h u r c h n o t merely to sit u p a n d pay a t t e n t i o n b u t to stand u p a n d work toward t h e redirection of this trend. T h e r e is n o d o u b t that great financial challenges exist for t h e clergyperson—both m e n a n d women—in their first t e n years of ministry. M a n y have substantial educational d e b t a n d y o u n g families. T h e d e m a n d s of y o u n g families can h i n d e r clergy by often distracting t h e m from t h o s e areas of ministry t h a t will provide t h e m w i t h t h e n u r t u r e a n d s u p p o r t t o stick w i t h parish ministry t h r o u g h t h e difficult first y e a r s - e s p e c i a l l y "her" ministry. T h e financial d e b t c o n t r i b u t e s to m u c h u n h a p p i n e s s as well as m a k i n g o t h e r things impossible for y o u n g families. A d d i n g to t h e financial challenges of t h e young-in-ministry (regardless of age) is t h e reality t h a t w o m e n of all ethnicities c o n t i n u e to face chal­ lenges u n i q u e to their sex in t h e local church. M u c h progress has b e e n m a d e in c h u r c h e s regarding t h e a c c e p t a n c e of w o m e n as pastoral leaders. Yet o n e still hears of p e r s o n s leaving t h e w o r s h i p service before t h e w o m a n preacher gets to t h e s e r m o n , while, in o t h e r instances, individuals leave a congregation w h e n a w o m a n is a p p o i n t e d as pastor. O t h e r s w h o stay m a y act o u t their aggressions, directly or indirectly; a n d m a n y refuse t o respect w o m e n in positions of authority. It is u n d e r s t a n d a b l e t h a t m a n y w o m e n d o not survive, m u c h less thrive, b e y o n d t h e first t e n years. A d d to this t h e real o r perceived lack of s u p p o r t by o n e ' s local a n d conference c o m m u n i t y and t h e fact that w o m e n w h o take first a n d s e c o n d a p p o i n t m e n t s as pastor in charge are often located in isolated situations. T h e 1997 study was released in t h e same year that I a s s u m e d t h e posi­ tion of director of continuing education at E m o r y University's Candler School of Theology. Early in m y t e n u r e at Candler, in an attempt to develop our niche in the landscape of continuing theological education, I worked to develop u n i q u e opportunities for continuing education—programs that were n o t being d o n e by any other institution. A n attempt to address t h e retention of clergywomen in The United Methodist C h u r c h attracted m y attention, since I too had left t h e local church for an extension ministry a p p o i n t m e n t . Two q u e s t i o n s occupied m y attention; • Could a p r o g r a m of c o n t i n u i n g theological e d u c a t i o n assist in addressing this matter?

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• If so, h o w could this b e d o n e in a way t h a t clergywomen as well as t h e c h u r c h e s t h e y serve benefit a n d prosper? T h e a n s w e r to t h e first q u e s t i o n is yes—but only if w e believe t h a t e d u c a t i o n is m o r e t h a n merely e d u c a t i n g t h e mind. T h e divisions in t h e o ­ logical e d u c a t i o n b e t w e e n mind, soul, a n d b o d y m u s t b e eliminated if w e truly believe t h a t w e are to love G o d w i t h all o u r "passion a n d prayer a n d intelligence a n d e n e r g y " a n d o u r n e i g h b o r as ourselves.
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The growing separation b e t w e e n s e m i n a r y e d u c a t i o n a n d practical ministry m u s t b e overcome as well. T h e church m u s t e m b r a c e a r e n e w e d u n d e r s t a n d i n g of c o n t i n u i n g g r o w t h a n d education. Such a n u n d e r s t a n d i n g views life n o t as "blocks" of learning t h a t m a y or m a y n o t c o n n e c t b u t rather as an o n g o i n g stream of n e w knowledge a n d awareness a n d change. I use t h e t e r m renewed b e c a u s e t h e Book of Discipline clearly holds forth high e x p e c t a t i o n s t h a t t h e church's clergy engage in "continuing e d u c a t i o n for ministry, professional d e v e l o p m e n t , a n d spiritual formation and g r o w t h in order to lead t h e c h u r c h in fulfilling t h e mission of m a k i n g disciples for Jesus Christ." In reality, h o w m a n y district s u p e r i n t e n d e n t s hold their pastors a c c o u n t a b l e for their c o n t i n u i n g education? H o w m a n y c h u r c h e s insist that their pastors n o t merely take vacations b u t engage in c o n t i n u i n g e d u c a t i o n a n d t h e n provide t h e funds for clergy t o d o so?
4

The answer t o t h e s e c o n d q u e s t i o n above is a p r o g r a m k n o w n as C o v e n a n t Colleagues, an e x p e r i m e n t in non-degree, sustained, continuing theological e d u c a t i o n t h a t a t t e m p t s to address t h e n e e d s of t h e whole p e r s o n in t h e first t e n years of ministry—those critical years t h a t lay t h e foundation for long-term effectiveness. T h e goals of this e x p e r i m e n t are to
5

• d e e p e n t h e spiritual core of clergywomen, g r o u n d i n g a n d c e n t e r i n g t h e m for life a n d ministry • assist w o m e n in finding a n d m a i n t a i n i n g balance in their lives t h a t will further e n a b l e t h e m to serve G o d a n d t h e c h u r c h of Jesus Christ effectively • facilitate t h e c o n t i n u e d practice of lifelong learning into t h e profes­ sional a n d p e r s o n a l lives of c l e r g y w o m e n • form n e t w o r k s of o n g o i n g s u p p o r t in their local area a n d across a n n u a l conference lines • e n c o u r a g e c o o p e r a t i o n a n d collaboration—not competition—among w o m e n in ministry C o v e n a n t Colleagues p a y a t t e n t i o n to t h e soul t h r o u g h t h e regular

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r h y t h m s of worship a n d liturgy. There is a daily celebration of t h e Eucharist a n d m o r n i n g and evening prayers—and each night t h e w o m e n c o m m i t to a c o v e n a n t of silence. Individuals are given t h e o p p o r t u n i t y for spiritual direction w i t h a spiritual director w h o c o n t i n u e s to offer g u i d a n c e b e t w e e n m o d u l e s , along w i t h t h e possibility of walking t h e prayer labyrinth. Critical t o t h e C o v e n a n t colleague is t h e creation of a safe place t o laugh, cry, shout, a n d singl O n e of t h e significant ingredients of this p r o g r a m has b e e n t h e investment in music, w h i c h in a n d of itself has worshipful a n d t h e r a p e u t i c advantage. T h e m i n d s of t h e s e gifted w o m e n are stoked by educational stimula­ tion t h r o u g h o u t each four-day m o d u l e . At least o n e faculty p e r s o n is employed to lead t h e educational direction of t h e g r o u p according t o a particular t h e m e or emphasis. S o m e m o d u l e s m a y b e m o r e cognitively inspiring, while o t h e r s tantalize t h e m i n d t h r o u g h art a n d creativity. Addressing issues of t h e b o d y is i m p o r t a n t to t h e c o v e n a n t of t h e s e w o m e n , D u r i n g their first orientation, t h e colleagues are told t o take care of themselves first a n d foremost d u r i n g each m o d u l e . T h e y are e n c o u r a g e d to listen t o their b o d i e s for signals t h a t t h e y m a y have b e e n unwilling to a d d r e s s or were simply t o o b u s y to notice. A private r o o m for each w o m a n allows t h e o p p o r t u n i t y for m u c h - n e e d e d rest. G o o d n u t r i t i o n is available in t h e t h r e e meals provided. N u m e r o u s o p p o r t u n i t i e s for exercise are avail­ able, as well as t h e occasional treat of a b o d y massage I T h e total e x p e r i e n c e is u n d e r g i r d e d a n d g u i d e d by t h e recognition of t h e individual's u n i q u e n e s s . T h r o u g h w o r k w i t h Myers-Briggs a n d t h e E n n e a g r a m , t h e colleagues are aided in k n o w i n g a n d u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h e m ­ selves better. This awareness is often critical to their ability to thrive in their h o m e s and t o w o r k m o r e effectively in their churches. In essence, C o v e n a n t Colleagues a t t e m p t s t o e d u c a t e t h e w h o l e w o m a n for life and ministry, c o n t i n u i n g t h e theological e d u c a t i o n of semi­ nary, addressing t h e practical aspects a n d realities of ministry a n d acknowl­ e d g i n g one's spiritual being as t h a t w h i c h weaves t o g e t h e r t h e m a n y a n d often-fragmented p a r t s of one's life. Oh, t h a t t h e p r o g r a m could accomplish all thatf However, by spirit a n d design, t h e C o v e n a n t Colleagues p r o g r a m m a k e s a n a t t e m p t to recognize t h e s e fractured p a r t s a n d m o d e l s a spiritual way of life t h a t k n o w s p e a c e amidst t h e chaotic m o m e n t s of life. O n e could only h o p e that s o m e d a y all o u r a t t e m p t s to e d u c a t e for a s e m i n a r y degree a n d b e y o n d would e m b r a c e such a holistic approach!

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CONTINUING THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION FOR CLERGYWOMEN

Beth Luton Cook is Director of Church Ministries Education at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.

Endnotes
1. "Women's Path into Ministry: Six Major Studies," Pulpit & Pew Research on Pastoral Leadership 1 (Fall 2002). 2. The complete study is available on the website of the Anna Howard Shaw Center at h t t p : / / w w w . b u . e d u / s t h / s h a w / r e t e n t i o n / . 3. "Mark 12:30," in The Message; The New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs in Contemporary Language, by E u g e n e H. P e t e r s o n ( C o l o r a d o Springs, C O : Navpress, 1998). 4. The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church-2000 United Methodist Publishing House, 2000), 1349.1. (Nashville: The

5. Information about the Covenant Colleagues program is available online at http://candler.emory.edu/ACADEMIC/OCME/COVCOLL/.

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Methodist and Radical: Rejuvenating a Tradition, ed.
a n d J o h n J. Vincent (Nashville: Kingswood, 2003)

by j o e r g Rieger

t is a c o m m o n u n d e r s t a n d i n g that m u c h c o n t e m p o r a r y theology draws heavily from h u m a n experience. Methodist and Radical: Rejuvenating a Tradition seeks to c o n n e c t experience-based theologies "from t h e margins"— class, race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality—with a foundational tradition in early Methodism. Essentially, t h e writers a n d editors of this v o l u m e of t h i r t e e n essays assert that radical u n d e r s t a n d i n g and practice of ministry, ecclesiology, h e r m e n e u t i c s , and evangelism are a natural p a t h for today's M e t h o d i s t s a n d o t h e r Christians, b e c a u s e t h e s e are n o t n e w b u t b a s e d in t h e practical t h e o l o g y of t h e first "people called Methodists." The volume p u t s Wesleyan t h o u g h t in conversation with a w i d e range of perspectives—feminist, Latin American, African a n d African American, Asian and Asian American, South Pacific, and British, as well as a voice with partic­ ular c o n c e r n for t h e marginalization of t h e p o o r a n d of gays and lesbians. As t h e y c o m b Wesley's teachings a n d practices t h e y challenge all w h o practice Christianity in the Methodist traditions to ask h o w faith is called t o r e s p o n d to historical injustices and t h e real-life crises of today—and to see this incor­ poration of spiritual a n d practical as c o n g r u e n t w i t h a Wesleyan heritage. Writers offer a particular challenge to t h o s e w h o preach a n d lead congrega­ tions, urging us n o t to s u c c u m b to w h a t several describe as United M e t h o d i s m ' s "preferential option for t h e middle class" (e.g., T h e o d o r e W Jennings, Jr., "Breaking D o w n t h e Walls of Division: Challenges Facing t h e People Called Methodist"). S o m e i m p o r t a n t r e m i n d e r s from t h e M e t h o d i s t tradition include Wesley's call for radical discipleship (John Vincent, "Basics of Radical M e t h o d i s m : Challenges for Today"; Harold J. Recinos, "Barrio Christianity a n d A m e r i c a n Methodism"; a n d S t e p h e n G. Hatcher, "The Radicalism of Primitive Methodism") a n d Wesley's a t t e m p t s to unravel t h e causes of poverty a n d call for c h a n g e s to eliminate t h e m (Joerg Rieger, "What D o Margins a n d C e n t e r Have to D o w i t h Each Other?"), rather t h a n simply

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METHODIST AND RADICAL: REJUVENATING A TRADITION

treating t h e s y m p t o m s . Perhaps t h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t basic r e m i n d e r to a Western Christianity t h a t s e e m s ever in d a n g e r of being completely spiritu­ alized a n d emotionalized is t h e n o t i o n t h a t Wesleyan piety moves h o r i z o n ­ tally as well as vertically. That is, o u r relationship w i t h n e i g h b o r is as signifi­ cant a s - i n d e e d , is p a r t o f - o u r relationship w i t h G o d . A n d a corollary: works of mercy—one side of t h e means-of-grace coin t h a t is such an impor­ t a n t p a r t of Wesleyan spirituality—bring grace to t h e merciful, n o t just to t h e "objects" of their m e r c y (Rieger, "Margins a n d Center"). Wesley challenges us today, just as h e challenged t h e Christians of his day. A n d t h e writers of Methodist and Radical p o i n t us t o m a n y of t h e progressive e l e m e n t s of J o h n Wesley's teaching t h a t c o n t i n u e to have m e a n i n g . That said, I a m n o t c o n v i n c e d Wesley was t h e radical that Rieger, Vincent, a n d colleagues s e e m to a s s u m e h e was. T h e r e are radical e l e m e n t s in t h e M e t h o d i s t / W e s l e y a n traditions, b u t to find t h e m o n e has to m o v e b e y o n d J o h n Wesley. To be sure, Wesley insisted that Christians are called to b e merciful a n d loving to t h e suffering; b u t does that make h i m a radical? And, if so, in w h a t way? Wesley's well-known insistence that Christianity could n o t be a private religion might have b e e n a radical u n d e r s t a n d i n g of t h e faith, especially for his time. But his insistence that Christian love m u s t b e lived o u t in t h e world did not include removing t h e "root" of unjust institutions or extreme changes in politics, etc. Wesley's conservative u n d e r s t a n d i n g of g o v e r n m e n t as Godordained is well k n o w n to scholars; it led to his out-and-out rejection of t h e premises of t h e American Revolution. In addition, h e barred preachers from even addressing political topics in sermons—except in defense of the king. Further, w i t h rare exceptions (for example, t h e antislavery m o v e m e n t and s o m e of his "Thoughts o n t h e Present Scarcity of Provisions"), Wesley focused o n calling for reform o n t h e basis of humanitarianism or personal responsibility (i.e., for t h e wealthy w h o benefited from land enclosures), rather t h a n o n d e m a n d i n g change in laws and institutions. However, further o n in t h e Wesleyan traditions, w e find leaders at least as radical as Wesley, if n o t m o r e so. O n e offshoot from t h e M e t h o d i s t tree was founded solely o n antislavery convictions. T h e Wesleyan M e t h o d i s t s were so "radical" a b o u t o n e issue t h a t t h e y w e r e willing t o leave a d e n o m i ­ nation over it. O n e f o u n d e r of t h e Wesleyan M e t h o d i s t church, L u t h e r Lee, was also radical o n "the w o m a n question." H e p r e a c h e d t h e o r d i n a t i o n s e r m o n for A n t o i n e t t e Brown, t h e first w o m a n r e c o r d e d to b e fully

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NAOMI ANNANDALE

ordained. While J o h n Wesley eventually p e r m i t t e d w o m e n to preach, h e was cautious a b o u t it a n d never allowed large n u m b e r s of female preachers. However, several H o l i n e s s / P e n t e c o s t a l churches, w h i c h g r e w o u t of t h e M e t h o d i s t tradition, did. T h e Salvation Army, t h e C h u r c h of t h e N a z a r e n e , t h e Pilgrim Holiness Church, a n d t h e Pillar of Fire all s u p p o r t e d w o m e n ' s ministry. C h u r c h leaders read t h e Bible w i t h "new eyes"—an early instance of feminist h e r m e n e u t i c s . T h e f o u n d e r of t h e Christian a n d Missionary Alliance, A.B. Semple, a r g u e d t h a t Jesus was n o t a m a n by g e n d e r b u t was simply "man" as in " h u m a n being." A n d M e t h o d i s t Frances Willard, t h r o u g h t h e W o m e n ' s Christian T e m p e r a n c e Union, fought hard for t h e vote for w o m e n . Moreover, m u c h later in t h e "mainstream" of M e t h o d i s m , t h e M e t h o d i s t Federation for Social Service (MFSS) a n d its leaders, s u c h as H a r r y Ward, urged t h e d e n o m i n a t i o n in t h e 1930s to w o r k for t h e "aboli­ tion of a dying capitalism" a n d s o u g h t to create a classless society, t h u s d o i n g just w h a t scholars have p o i n t e d o u t Wesley failed t o do: strike at t h e root of a problem. D o e s this make MFSS, H a r r y Ward, other leaders of t h e time "radical"? W h a t a b o u t t h e P e n t e c o s t a l / H o l i n e s s churches, often caricatured as conser­ vative, if n o t backward, b u t that were certainly far a h e a d of their time in t h e n i n e t e e n t h century? A n d w h a t a b o u t Wesley? Methodist and Radical has only a brief introduction and conclusion, so 1 was left w o n d e r i n g h o w t h e editors defined "radical." But if we consider t h e simple dictionary u n d e r s t a n d i n g of t h e w o r d radical—seeking to change or eliminate t h e root of a system, problem, or institution—then I think s o m e of Wesley's heirs, including t h o s e "conservative" Pentecostals, are better qualified t h a n h e is. Methodist and Radical is an i m p o r t a n t r e m i n d e r t h a t M e t h o d i s t s c a n t u r n to their traditions to find p r e c e d e n t s for vigorous e n g a g e m e n t w i t h t h e political and social world a n d for forward-thinking theological interpre­ tation, Unfortunately, it generally treats "Wesley" as s y n o n y m o u s w i t h "Methodist." In so doing, it fails to consider t h e significant c o n t r i b u t i o n s of later M e t h o d i s t s a n d relatives a n d p e r h a p s overestimates J o h n Wesley's o w n c o n t r i b u t i o n s to a radical Christianity.

Reviewed by Naomi Annandale. Annandale is Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Oswego, New York,

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AN EXAMINED FAITH: THE GRACE OF SELF-DOUBT

An Examined Faith: The Grace of Self-Doubt by James
(Minneapolis: Fortress, 2004).

M. G u s t a f s o n

n this little book, Gustafson raises o n e of t h e m o s t e n d u r i n g questions for theologians since t h e Enlightenment: W h e n t h e s a m e p h e n o m e n a are addressed o r a c c o u n t e d for by b o t h religious a n d secular discourses, h o w should Christians (theologians, ethicists, pastors) r e s p o n d to these different m o d e s of interpretation? H o w d o nonreligious a c c o u n t s affect theological or religious accounts? H e a s s u m e s t h a t t h e interactions b e t w e e n religious a n d nonreligious m o d e s of interpretation are inevitable for anyone w h o lives in o u r c u r r e n t Western context. M u c h m o r e t h a n academic, these ques­ tions are relevant for a n y o n e striving t o b e a faithful Christian in a world w h e r e multiple interpretations of events, actions, and texts are c o m m u n i ­ cated in educational systems, television programs, n e w s magazines, novels, a n d o t h e r aspects of p o p u l a r culture. In fact, Gustafson says, m o s t p e o p l e either tacitly or explicitly alter or a b a n d o n s o m e traditional beliefs a n d prac­ tices in light of secular a c c o u n t s of creaturely life and events; for example, o u r reading of G e n e s i s 1-2 (68). An Examined Faith seeks to elevate m e t h o d ­ ological a n d reflective self-consciousness in o r d e r to preserve t h e integrity of religious discourse a n d mitigate cognitive dissonance. T h e first c h a p t e r i n t r o d u c e s Gustafson's a s s u m p t i o n s , t h e issues h e analyzes, t h e i m p o r t a n c e of t h e project, a n d s o m e typical strategies t h a t have b e e n e m p l o y e d to avoid t h e difficult q u e s t i o n s h e a t t e m p t s boldly to face. C h a p t e r 2, t h r o u g h a n overworked e x a m p l e of a hypothetical college student, explains h o w t h e t h e m e of h u m a n n a t u r e is o n e site w h e r e a plurality of disciplines intersects at various levels of inquiry. H e t h e n u s e s this example t h r o u g h o u t t h e text to concretize his analysis. C h a p t e r s 3 a n d 5 constitute t h e h e a r t of t h e book. In t h e former, Gustafson outlines t h r e e "ideal-typical" o p t i o n s for negotiating interpretive pluralism a n d in t h e latter h e gives a critical a s s e s s m e n t of each. At o n e extreme, theologians e m p l o y a "rejection strategy": t h e theologian rejects nontheological insights a n d discoveries as insignificant for theology, ministry, a n d ethics either by claiming t h a t religious a n d secular forms of discourse are i n c o m m e n s u r a b l e (allowing for multiple a c c o u n t s of truth) o r by claiming t h a t t h e only t r u t h is theological t r u t h . A s examples of this a p p r o a c h h e n a m e s Christian fundamentalists a n d theologians associated w i t h postliberalism, Radical O r t h o d o x y , a n d postcritical t h e o l o g y w h o

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MARK EMERY REYNOLDS

d e r i d e "the E n l i g h t e n m e n t project" a n d exploit p o s t m o d e r n p h i l o s o p h y to justify their o w n theological isolationism. Specifically, h e engages Stanley H a u e r w a s , Peter Ochs, a n d J o h n Milbank, giving convincing a r g u m e n t s t h a t t h e s e m o d e l s of rejection are n o t viable in o u r c o n t e m p o r a r y context. D e s p i t e their claims, G u s t a f s o n argues, "they c a n n o t self-legislate their subject m a t t e r and its m e t h o d s insofar as subjects t h e y address are also a d d r e s s e d by other disciplines" (10). T h e d a n g e r of this first o p t i o n is sectarianism. At t h e o t h e r extreme are theologians w h o allow nontheological disci­ plines to a b s o r b a n d completely d e t e r m i n e theological a n d religious inter­ pretation. Curiously, G u s t a f s o n provides n o e x a m p l e s of this s e c o n d approach. This brings us to t h e third (middle) option: " a c c o m m o d a t i o n " a n d its w i d e range of possibilities. O n t h e far left is Philip Hefner, w h o claims t h a t "God-talk should be viewed as expressing something about our experi­ ence of a world that is scientifically understood" (46). H e gives priority to biology as a c o m p r e h e n s i v e interpretive s c h e m e a n d i n c o r p o r a t e s insights gained from natural science into a compatible theological i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of Christian symbols, In this approach, science d o e s n o t completely deter­ m i n e theology b u t functions to a u t h o r i z e a certain theological trajectory. O c c u p y i n g a "centrist position" is Edward Farley, w h o takes biological insights seriously w h e n formulating his u n d e r s t a n d i n g of t h e h u m a n b u t resists biological reductionism. A t t e m p t i n g to develop a m u l t i d i m e n s i o n a l a c c o u n t of t h e h u m a n o p e n to t h e natural a n d social sciences as well as m o d e r n p h i l o s o p h y Farley sketches a p h e n o m e n o l o g i c a l portrait of t h e h u m a n being w i t h o u t an initial appeal to Christian Scripture o r tradition. H e t h e n develops traditional Christian t h e m e s in ways c o n s o n a n t w i t h this depiction, Farley rejects theologically s u p p o r t e d dualisms a n d allows secular disciplines to limit his theological a r g u m e n t s w i t h o u t a b s o r p t i o n . After a brief excursus o n liberation theology, G u s t a f s o n treats Karl Barth's "right-leaning" (my phrase) a c c o m m o d a t i o n strategy. For Barth, says Gustafson, nontheological a c c o u n t s can tell us a b o u t " p h e n o m e n a l man," b u t t h e s e are only s y m p t o m s of t h e "real man"; "they merely give a portrait of a shadow" (62). The "real man" is disclosed only in relation to G o d ' s special revelation in t h e t r u e h u m a n being, Jesus Christ. O n l y after w e have u n d e r s t o o d t h e real h u m a n in relation to Jesus can w e discuss p h e n o m e n a l m a n a n d reinterpret t h e s e insights according to a n e w o r i e n t a t i o n m a d e possible by revelation. Barth d o e s not reject t h e insights of secular disci-

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AN EXAMINED FAITH: THE GRACE OF SELF-DOUBT

plines b u t refuses t o m a k e t h e m t h e basis of theology. "[T]hey are accepted w i t h i n their limits, a n d t h e n reinterpreted christologically" in such a way t h a t t h e y c a n n o t function to criticize Barth's theological starting p o i n t (63). Gustafson, w h o claims t o follow "a classic liberal theological tradition," favors a methodologically self-conscious appropriation of t h e a c c o m m o d a ­ tion strategy. "The major c o n t r i b u t i o n of theology a n d ethics in interactions with scientific a n d o t h e r secular accounts," h e explains, "is to e x p a n d t h e received information by interpreting it from a different perspective" (82). Given t h e superiority of a c c o m m o d a t i o n , Gustafson presses t h e next logical question: W h a t criteria o u g h t theology, ethics, a n d o t h e r religious discourse to use in r e s p o n s e to nontheological disciplines a n d discourse? (6) While repetitive in places, t h e b o o k is well organized a n d gives a n insightful depiction of o u r c o n t e m p o r a r y context. G u s t a f s o n helps us see t h e inevitability of theological struggles t h a t create cognitive d i s s o n a n c e for all w h o live a m i d s t interpretive pluralism; a n d h e persuasively argues for the n e e d to ask ourselves h o w we should negotiate this pluralism w i t h o u t b e c o m i n g sectarian or losing t h e u n i q u e c o n t r i b u t i o n s of o u r reli­ gious traditions. F u r t h e r m o r e , a l t h o u g h s o m e will find Gustafson's classifi­ cation of postliberalism a n d Radical O r t h o d o x y w i t h f u n d a m e n t a l i s m t o o general a n d his classification of Barth as a n a c c o m m o d a t i o n i s t surprising, t h e fair r e a d e r will find t h a t t h e b o o k raises crucial issues w i t h which every thoughtful theologian, ethicist, a n d pastor m u s t struggle. Finally, while Gustafson p o i n t s t h e r e a d e r to his b o o k Ethics from a Theocentric Perspective for a m o r e detailed a c c o u n t of his o w n position, An Examined Faith w o u l d have b e e n stronger h a d h e e n d e d by a n s w e r i n g his o w n q u e s t i o n a b o u t t h e a p p r o p r i a t e criteria for d e t e r m i n i n g h o w to r e s p o n d t o insights from secular disciplines. Instead, h e gives us a m e d i t a t i o n o n t h e tragedies of h u m a n life a n d history in light of t h e events of 9/11—broodings t h a t are n o t strongly c o n n e c t e d to his overall project. N o n e t h e l e s s , t h e b o o k is stim­ ulating, s o m e t i m e s persuasive, a n d w o r t h a careful read.

Reviewed by Mark Emery Reynolds. Reynolds is a Ph.D. student at Vanderbilt University and a Probationary Elder in the Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church.

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QUARTERLY REVIEW

IN THIS ISSUE:
Issue Theme: Preaching for the Twenty-First Century
Challenging U n i t e d M e t h c d i s t Preachers Tyrone D. Gordon: Adam Preaching Paul L. Susan Bond Preaching Theology John S. McClure Preaching amidst Different Cultures Aida Irizarry-Fernandez Hamilton

Preaching T h a t C o n n e c t s for t h e Twenty-First-Century Hearer: A n African Perspective Eben K. Nhiwatiwa

Outside the Theme
"I Permit N o t a W o m a n t o Teach": W o m e n ' s Roles as a Test Case for Biblical Authority Ralph K. Hawkins Response to Ralph K. H a w k i n s Tex Sample Rejoinder to Tex Sample Ralph K. Hawkins

The Church in Review
The M e a n i n g of United Methodist Relatedness William D. Lawrence Ted Brown

A Word on the Word
Lectionary Study James W. Moore Issues In: C o n t i n u i n g Theological Education for C l e r g y w o m e n Beth Luton Cook

Book Reviews
Methodist and Radical: Rejuvenating a Tradition, ed. by Joerg Rieger a n d J o h n J. Vincent (Kingswood. 2003) Reviewer. N a o m i A n n a n d a l e An Examined Faith: The Grace of Self-Doubt, by J a m e s M. G u s t a f s o n (Fortress. 2004) Reviewer. Mark E m e r y Reynolds

N E X T T H E O R D E R S O F M I N I S T R Y :

I S S U E : P R O B L E M S A N D P R O S P E C T S

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