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Preaching Biblical Wisdom in a Self-Help Society [Paperback]

By Alyce McKenzie (Author)
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Item description for Preaching Biblical Wisdom in a Self-Help Society by Alyce McKenzie...

Overview
This book equips preachers to tap into the treasures of the biblical wisdom tradition to counter the claims of a self-help society. The wisdom books and genres of the Bible, long neglected, are now the subject of avid scrutiny by biblical scholars. They've turned up the shining insight that the Bible, both Old and New Testament, is brimming with materials that are the ancestors of contemporary slogans and self-help manuals. This is indeed good news! We have proverbs and instruction every bit as vivid and compelling as "Don't sweat the small stuff"--and for more aware of the depth, complexity, and mystery of life in God's world. McKenzie demonstrates how Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and other biblical wisdom can provide fruitful opportunities to preach to those who are hungry for wisdom, and often unaware of the richness and depth of the Bible's wisdom tradition.

Publishers Description
The shelves at the big bookstore chains are lined with cracker-barrel wisdom manuals, such as Don't Sweat the Small Stuff and Life's Little Instruction Book. Schools display brightly colored, slogan-filled posters to help them teach "the six pillars of character." Many people are going to their local New Age emporium to purchase energy-harmonizing crystals and to sign up for past-life regression seminars.

Alyce McKenzie reminds us that this is a new flurry of an old activity: the search for wisdom, for help in finding the principles that can guide our lives and shape our character. The question for those who proclaim the gospel is simple: by whose wisdom will our people live?

The wisdom books and genres of the Bible, long neglected, are now the subject of avid scrutiny by biblical scholars. They've turned up the shining insight that the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is brimming with materials that axe the ancestors of contemporary slogans and self-help manuals. This is indeed good news We have proverbs and instruction every bit as vivid and compelling as "Don't sweat the small stuff" -- and far more aware of the depth, complexity, and mystery of life in God's world.

McKenzie demonstrates how Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and other biblical wisdom can provide fruitful opportunities to preach to those who are hungry for wisdom, and often unaware of the richness and depth of the Bible's wisdom tradition.

Key Features:
-- Provides an alternative to shallow catch-phrases that parade in our culture as wisdom;
-- Helps preachers harvest the biblical gems that are the ancestors of contemporary slogans and self-help manuals;
-- Lets preachers tap into a rich vein of instruction on life that has withstood the test of theological reflection and life experience.

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Item Specifications...


Studio: Abingdon Press
Pages   258
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.03" Width: 6.09" Height: 0.56"
Weight:   0.76 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2002
Publisher   Abingdon Church Supplies
ISBN  0687090504  
ISBN13  9780687090501  


Availability  89 units.
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More About Alyce McKenzie


Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Charles L. Aaron Jr. is pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Terrell, Texas. Aside from authoring Preaching Hosea, Amos and Micah in the Preaching Classic Texts series, he has written Your Faith Has Made You Well from CSS Publishing. Alyce M. McKenzie is Le Van Professor of Preaching and Worship and Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. Among her books published is What Not to Say: Avoiding the Common Mistakes That Can Sink Your Sermon, coauthored with John Holbert.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Essays > General
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Essays
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Preaching
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Sermons


Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Pastoral Help > General



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Reviews - What do customers think about Preaching Biblical Wisdom in a Self-Help Society?

It needn't be either/or  Mar 12, 2007
As a seminary student in an Introduction to Preaching class, I chose this book based on the connection between Biblical Wisdom and self-help content, which I expected from the title. I wanted to learn about preaching that was relevant for contemporary American culture, and expected that the book would tie together Biblical Wisdom teachings and various self-help paradigms, in ways that might be enlightening and helpful for my path as an aspiring preacher. Since self-help literature has played a role in my own growth as a person, I thought this book might be a way to integrate some of that into my ministry.

The author appears to me to be a gifted Biblical scholar, and the book has much to offer in the realm of the Wisdom teachings of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.

However, rather than searching for common ground between various forms of wisdom, Ms. McKenzie mostly seems to offer an either/or scenario. Much of the early part of the book is devoted to discussion about why self-help literature and New Age beliefs are shallow and inferior to Biblical Wisdom. She actually appeared to me to be hostile and condescending towards self-help at times, as in her statement " We can spend our days swilling Chicken Soup for the Soul, but never quite filling the empty void. Or we can choose to come before God in this present moment, with reverent, grateful quietude, ready to receive the divine gifts of simplicity and joy." (p.168)

In one paragraph, Ms. McKenzie lumps all self-help initiatives into one big mass, including Dear Abby, Dr. Laura, Oprah, Alcoholics Anonymous, "New Age authors" and Zen meditation, as activities of a "wisdom smorgasbord line" that parishoners are sampling. (p. 41) She clearly disapproves. Likewise, in her chapter New Age Wisdom, she has headings such as "The New Age View of God" , "the New Age View of Evil and Tragedy", etc. , lumping all New Age modalities into one monolithic mass. For me, reading blanket statements about any group of "others" is offensive. And needless to say, I didn't feel that it helped me to grow as a preacher in contemporary American society.

As I said above, the author's Biblical scholarship seemed excellent to me, and I don't want to leave an impression that I didn't learn from her writing about that, and that is easily half of the content of the book. However, since this book didn't deliver for me, as a meeting ground between a potentially rich mix of wisdom genres and traditions, I'm not going to expound on the Biblical wisdom commentary here.

This may be surprising, but I do agree with the author, that Biblical wisdom contains much complexity and depth that may be lacking in other wisdom genres, and that "Wisdom is looking to God for insight and guidance in both the calms and in the storms of life". (p. 30) I just don't see why she arrives at the conclusion "The fact is, I do have to choose [between self-help wisdom and Biblical wisdom]. We all do." (p.168)

I was not convinced, and remain disappointed that rich opportunities seem to have been missed.

 

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