Item description for Believing in Preaching: What Listeners Hear in Sermonschannels of Listening Series (Channels Of Listening) by Mary Alice Mulligan, Diane Turner-Sharazz & Dawn Ottoni Wilbelm...
Overview When the authors of this book set about analyzing the data and reporting the findings of their extensive study on how laity hear sermons, they thought they would be sharing what listeners reported helps them enter into the meaning of a sermon and what prevents them from hearing what the preacher is saying. In a way, Believing in Preaching accomplishes this. But the surprising revelation of the study was the remarkable diversity with respect to how people listen to sermons.
Publishers Description When the authors of this book set about analyzing the data and reporting the findings of their extensive study on how laity hear sermons, they thought they would be sharing what listeners reported helps them enter into the meaning of a sermon and what prevents them from hearing what the preacher is saying. In a way, Believing in Preaching accomplishes this. But the surprising revelation of the study was the remarkable diversity with respect to how people listen to sermons. From the Channels of Listening series.
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Studio: Chalice Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.44" Width: 5.66" Height: 0.6" Weight: 0.81 lbs.
Release Date Mar 1, 2005
Publisher Chalice Press
Series Channels Of Listening
ISBN 0827205023 ISBN13 9780827205024
Availability 0 units.
More About Mary Alice Mulligan, Diane Turner-Sharazz & Dawn Ottoni Wilbelm
Ronald J. Allen is Nettie Sweeney and Hugh Th. Miller Professor of Preaching and New Testament at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. He is author of many books, including Patterns of Preaching and Interpreting the Gospel, and coauthor of One Gospel, Many Ears and Listening to Listeners, all from Chalice Press. "Mary Alice Mulligan Diane Turner-Sharazz is instructor in homiletics and the Homer J. Elford Chair of Homiletics at the Methodist Theological School of Ohio. Dawn Ottoni Wilhelm is assistant professor of preaching and worship at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Indiana.
Mary Alice Mulligan currently resides in Indianapolis. Mary Alice Mulligan was born in 1952.
Reviews - What do customers think about Believing In Preaching: What Listeners Hear In Sermons (Channels of Listening)?
Do they hear what I hear? Sep 13, 2005
'Believing in Preaching: What Listeners Hear in Sermons' is the latest book in a four-part series on developing an understanding about how people listen to and respond to sermons and homilies. Supported by the Lilly Endowment, this project has involved many scholars at my seminary and elsewhere. 'Hearing the Sermon: Relationship/Content/Feeling', the second volume by Ronald J. Allen, professor of preaching and New Testament at my seminary, was published in fall 2004. The first volume, 'Listening to Listeners' by many authors, was published in summer 2004.
This series is of homiletical (preaching) resources designed to aid those who preach understand more about the way their sermons are heard and understood. The scholar team brought together a diverse group of people from 28 area congregations to be part of the study. The purpose of this study, this volume and the others forthcoming, could be formed out of the statement in the preface to the first volume, which the scholar team said to the congregation members -- 'Teach us how you listen to sermons so that we can help ministers become more effective preachers.'
This particular volume clusters material gleaned from the interviewing process around ten particular topics, each contained in its own chapter. Much of the material is taken directly from quotes given in the interviews, without too much editing (so that the quotations preserve the nuances of the interviewee's own speaking styles). One of the benefits of this process is the recognition of diversity even within particular congregations. 'Indeed, the authors of this book no longer speak of _the_ way people listen to sermons, as if all of us hear sermons in the same way.'
In terms of formatting, each chapter introduces the topic, including definition or clarification of important terminology. Questions used during the interview process are presented, and answers are given in clusters and sub-clusters - clusters are identified by bold-face type, and sub-clusters are identified by italics. Each chapter ends with a section intended for preachers for assistance in understanding how their own sermons can be strengthened.
Topics identified include some brought up in previous volumes of this series - the purpose of preaching, scriptural authority, embodiment, listener's relationships the preacher, pluralism, and more. Some areas might surprise a preacher - in the chapter on 'Controversy and Challenge in the Preaching Moment', contributing author Dawn Ottoni Wilhelm shares one interviewee's response that congregation members don't have to agree with the stand the preacher is making to believe the pulpit is the right place for such topics to be addressed. Even so, interviewees were better able to identify how these areas might be a problem than they were at what might make them hear such topics in sermons better.
The communal aspect of the preaching/listening experience is brought out in the chapter 'How Preaching Shapes the Faith Community' by Mary Alice Mulligan. Mulligan highlights some things that should be obvious (but often aren't) - that preaching is different from one-on-one conversation, so preachers should not be surprised if the congregation members hear things differently. Again, not all people clustered in the same way, as there were individual, aggregate, and communal identity listeners among the respondents. Mulligan draws on the work of Bonhoeffer, de Tocqueville, and Buttrick to show ways in which preaching and listening/responding can help form community.
In the chapter on 'Embodiment of the Sermon', contributor Diane Turner-Sharazz looks at many aspects such as eye contact, voice, gestures and movement, attire, and other physical aspects, but also the interesting item of 'perceived preacher preparation'. I recall from my own experience having a congregation member once tell me, 'I hate it when a preacher begins a sermon with something like, "On my way over here today I was thinking..."'. This speaks to this issue. If the preacher can't invest enough time in preparing the sermon, why should the listeners?
Among the chapters Ronald Allen contributed is 'Listeners Respond to Preaching in Diverse Ways', which is related to the chapter Allen and Mulligan collaborated on, 'Preaching and Pluralism in the Congregation.' In both of these chapters, a sensitivity to the diversity of listeners is cultivated, not just in terms of gender, race, socio-economic background, and other such aspects, but also in terms of how people listen and that for which they are listening. Allen identifies six broad clusters of responses to sermons (deepening in faith, thoughts, feelings, actions, cumulative responses over time, and negative responses). These responses are not mutually exclusive of each other. In both chapters, the need for preachers to be open and diverse enough in their own methods and styles is called for - 'This pluralism in qualities of preaching that motivate listeners to make positive responses to sermons suggests that a preacher cannot rely on one type of sermonic content to connect with the congregation, but needs to be able to develop sermons that present clear and persuasive ideas, that stir significant feelings, and that represent the preacher as a trustworthy person.'
This is a fascinating volume in the series, not least of which because it does bring together such a diverse body of responses from many voices, woven together with care in the chapters, themselves written by different people.
An invaluable resource for preachers and those who listen to them. Aug 10, 2005
In a seemingly seamless weaving of four authors'contributions, the publisher has made available an invaluable resource for preachers and also for for those who listen to them. The major contribution is an in depth interviewing of those who hear sermons; a corrolary contribution is the recognition that people hear the same sermon differently (shades of Roshomon). They interviewed persons from 28 different congregations and grouped their responses in "clusters" or "patterns of listening that are present even in the same congregation." The description of these patterns and the last chapter with suggestions about dealing with this phenomenon alone are worth the price of the book.