Reviews - What do customers think about Preaching Better: Practical Suggestions for Homilists?
Wonderful resource Jul 29, 2007
This book is a quick and easy read, filled with countless useful suggestions and tips. I would recommend it to all those who preach, you can always learn new things. As useful as this book was I must remember that some of the tips are only the author's opinion and suggestions.
Perhaps the Best Guide for a Catholic Homilist Sep 10, 2004
A friend of mine recently shared a quote with me which I believe was said by Jimmy Breslin. According to Breslin, the reason Catholic priests cannot preach is because they have never rebelled. Priests are trained to respect authority, not rebel. Breslin, on the other hand has been somewhat of a rebel, as his writings sometimes show, so he may have a point, but it is also a gross overstatement since there are many wonderful Catholic homilists. That being said, there are also many people who are dissatisfied with the preaching in Catholic churches and it is not due to disagreeing with Catholic teaching. It is due to poor preparation. It would be wonderful if all Catholic homilists read at least some of Kenneth Untener's PREACHING BETTER, a solid book about preaching by a beloved and experienced Catholic leader. If rebelliousness makes for a good writer and preacher, then the person of Kenneth Untener would also prove his point.
The late Bishop Kenneth Untener was loved by many because of his less than predictable approach to ministry. While he was criticized by some as being too liberal, his life was that of an effective follower of Christ. Everything he did was geared toward the people he served. He did not live in a bishop's house, preferring instead to live in rectories throughout his diocese. This enabled him to be part of the communities he shepherded and listen to the priests of his diocese. From what we know about Jesus Christ, he also traveled from place to place to be part of the community and always knew the needs of his leaders. Not a bad example to follow.
If there is one work that could become part of Bishop Untener's legacy, it is PREACHING BETTER. The book is geared toward the Catholic homilist, whether the homilist is a priest, deacon, catechist, or lay preacher, but I am certain that people of other denominations can appreciate his tips and wisdom. The reason I say it is geared toward Catholic preaching is due to the fact that Untener stresses the importance of the homily to the entire liturgy, and acknowledges that some of the sloppy practices that have developed in some Catholic churches stem from a belief that a good homily is nice, but not essential since many Catholics would attend Mass for the Eucharist anyway. He sees a clear connection between Eucharist and preaching the Word. He also believes that preaching is a means by which the scriptures can still be living and vital today. He gives suggestions for self review but also encourages preachers to have people who will critique homilies. He acknowledges that many people in Catholic ministry can have hectic preaching schedules between Sunday Masses, daily Mass, weddings, funeral, and other occasions that require a homily, but does not believe that so many demands are an excuse for poor preaching.
There are a number of wonderful homiletic books available, and many have been penned by experts in preaching and public speaking. For me, Untener's book does not have the expertise of some of the books that are available, but this is not a criticism since this volume has what many of these books lack. Untener's observations and hints seem to be based on his own ministry, his successes and his failures, and his desire to be an effective preacher.
Wise words from a wise man May 6, 2004
This book encapsulates the thought of the late Bishop Ken. He uses his common sense approach to life to help any homilist improve their preaching. This is a great reference and introduction.
Clear, practical and demandingly honest Nov 10, 2002
Bishop Untener goes straight to the heart of what a preacher should be doing. He makes his readers take account of genuine feedback from 'folk in the pew' and offers practical solutions which respond to their comments but which also encourage the preacher to grow, develop and improve.
The material is set out in short punchy chapters which are easy to read but difficult to forget. Above all, the reader will come away sharing the author's deep admiration for the flow of God's Word through a well-prepared preacher in full control of a well-prepared homily.
This short book can upturn the bad habits of even the most experienced preacher and can teach the novice preacher some early profound principles. I cannot commend it too highly.
If You Preach Buy This Book Feb 24, 2001
If you belong to a tradition where a ten minute homily is more appreciated than a two hour one, you should buy this book. It belongs on the desk of every preacher And if you don't preach yourself consider sending it to your pastor, anonymously if need be. When Untener was assigned to teach homiletics at Saint John's Seminary near Detroit, he began to ask people what they liked and disliked about the homilies they heard. He collected thousands of comments and boiled these down to the 25 that are the heart of this book. Later, as bishop of Saginaw, he began the Saginaw Program: a series of very small groups where his priests and deacons could critique each other's homilies. All of his clergy eventually took part in one or another group, and he took part in them all. Such are the sources for this book. It is clear, concise, practical, impressive. It is short enough to be read at a sitting and important enough to be reread at least every year.. It is to preaching what Strunk's Elements of Style is to writing.