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Reading for Preaching: The Preacher in Conversation with Storytellers, Biographers, Poets, and Journalists Paperback – November 30, 2013
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From Publishers Weekly
This slim volume, like the book of Proverbs, packs a lot of wisdom -- insight for skillful living in the fear of God -- into a few pages. . . . Plantingas own prose delights the reader as much as the dozens of passages he quotes from luminaries like Tolstoy and Steinbeck.
Concise, thoughtful, provocative and engaging, this is a book we preachers should read.
Preaching (Survey of the Years Best Books for Preachers)
Preachers will find tremendous wisdom and insight from reading Plantingas short but very potent treatise on the preacher and reading.
A marvel of concision, blunt good sense, sharp insight, and intellectual generosity. Buy one yourself and one for your pastor.
Sharing the Practice
Plantingas selections are rich in humor, satire, delight and carry the reader into some powerful times, places and events. This book would be a good resource for ministers to use in discussion groups or in personal study. For the preacher looking to escape the dry days and dull preaching, this book offers a challenge to revitalize ones preaching.
Invites preachers into the wonderful world of literature as a primary source for homiletical imagination. . . . This book offers a concise argument for the necessity of preachers to engage in conversation with great writers. . . . The permission to read, to schedule reading in ones weekly tasks, and to take reading seriously, will be another great joy of this book.
In this book are found riches from novels, short stories, poems and essays that will enrich any preachers art. That is one of the many delights of this book. One is treated to insightful commentary on a delightfully wide range of reading that demonstrates how the great skill of the authors can be learned by preachers who are seeking to announce the presence of God and move the human heart. . . . After all these years, I have again found a source for deepening my own reading that may in turn deepen my preaching.
-- author of Stations of the Heart and The End of Words
Cornelius Plantingas Reading for Preaching represents the gift of a lifetime. Plantinga has spent many years mapping great fiction, poetry, biography, and journalism. In this book he shares that map with technologized, digitalized, busy preachers who badly need what he has to offer. This is not a guide to pretty sermons, as Niebuhr called them, but to human, deeply textured reflections. . . . I cant imagine a preacher who will not benefit from this gift.
-- author of The Prophetic Imagination and Truth Speaks to Power
Two matters are unmistakably clear in this book. First, Plantinga loves words, phrases, sentences, and stories. He remembers them, relishes them, and knows their durable power. Second, Plantinga cares about ministers. He knows the burdens and wonders of ministry, and treats preachers with deep respect. . . . Preachers will find in these pages a colleague and fellow traveler who exudes courage and pathos and joy in our common calling.
Thomas G. Long
-- author of The Witness of Preaching and What Shall We Say?
With wit, wisdom, and a fresh supply of his own compelling prose, Cornelius Plantinga invites us into the whitewater adventure of good reading. He speaks directly to preachers, to those who bear the load of weekly sermons and who wonder where they can find language that bristles with energy and faithful imagination. But he also gathers in all Christians who hunger for the old words of the faith -- sin, hope, salvation, providence -- to come alive in the vibrant metaphors, rich stories, and telling insights of great literature. This book is about delightful reading, and it is itself a delight to read.
-- author of If You Want to Walk on Water, Youve Got to Get Out of the Boat
Jesus once said we are to love God with all our mind -- I know of no one who does this better than Neal Plantinga. He seems to be incapable of crafting an uninteresting or unedifying sentence. To be able to learn from him how to stock a mind for greater preaching is beyond price. Whatever this book costs, its not enough.
Plantingas sympathetic understanding of the preachers daunting task, combined with his concrete guidance for enhancing homiletic skill, makes this a valuable resource for new and veteran preachers alike.
-- editor/publisher of The Christian Century
Reading is the necessary backdrop to relevant twenty-first-century preaching. There is no shortcut or substitute. When the gospel and the preachers personal faith and experience are informed by wide, disciplined, varied, and sustained reading, lively and compelling sermons will be the result. Cornelius Plantinga, an avid and creative reader himself, provides the community of preachers with a very valuable resource and the impetus for all of us to read, read, read.
-- author of When Spiritual but Not Religious Is Not Enough
Why dont preachers read more? Preachers are writers who produce more content each week than the average newspaper columnist. Why dont we ravenously read in order to feed the beast of each Sundays deadline? The truth is that a million pressing callings invade the small space that pastors reserve for reading. And so I give thanks for the deep reading that Cornelius Plantinga has done over the years, and for this gentle guide to words that are worth reading.
-- author of And God Spoke to Abraham: Preaching from the Old Testament
This treasure of a book by Neal Plantinga offers substantial help to a generation of young preachers (and older ones too) who have not fully grasped the importance of furnishing the mind with great literary writing. . . . Plantinga is discerning, witty, humane, up-to-date, and profoundly pastoral. I urgently recommend this ear-opening book to a host of readers -- including not only preachers but also those who listen to preaching, for they will be enlarged by it as well.
Kevin J. Vanhoozer
-- editor of Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible
This beautifully written gem of a book admirably fulfills its sign function by pointing not at itself but at the thing it is about -- other peoples books. Plantinga makes as good a case as I have come across for the importance of reading many books to enrich the preaching of the Christians one book. Here is no recipe for pretty preaching, which only distracts from the biblical message, but rather a discerning call to Take, read and more effectively minister Gods word.
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Top Customer Reviews
Moore: What was the motivation behind writing this book?
Plantinga: I've been convinced for years that the assignment to get up weekly before a significantly mixed audience, to address it on topics of final significance, and to do so in a way that really engages-I've been convinced that, soberly assessed, this assignment is daunting. As far as I can tell, it's also unique. So, ten years ago, when colleagues at Calvin College invited me to host a summer seminar on "Imaginative Reading for Creative Preaching" I jumped at it.
Here's the idea: the Sunday preaching assignment is daunting: the preacher needs to read Scripture intelligently, to read the congregation empathetically, to imagine a nifty design for a sermon, to write and speak the sermon engagingly, to center everything where the gospel centers, namely at the intersection of human sin and divine grace, and to do all this afresh every week to the same audience.
The preacher is going to take all the help he can get. General literature is one of the helps. It tunes the preacher's ear for language, which is his or her first tool. It moves the preacher's heart. Above all, it tends to make the preacher wiser about sin and grace, about God and evil, about hope and longing, about beauty, and all the rest of the topics that come up in Scripture.
So for ten years I have co-hosted seminars for preachers in which we read novels, biographies, poems, and essays, always asking why the preacher wants to read whatever we're reading. Then we point out acute beauties of language, wonderful bursts of empathy, deep pieces of wisdom. Some of it rubs off.Read more ›
There is plenty of practical information here, but also much, much more. I hope that this book makes into many preachers hands, and becomes required reading in homiletics classes.
As a preacher, I need encouragement from my peers to browse among the great works of literature outside the commentaries and theology books that fill a preacher's bookshelves. Plantinga not only takes you directly to those great works, but he shows you what to look for when you get there to assist your preaching.
Sin and Grace, Fall and Redemption, and Salvation are illustrated for us in almost everything we read. An alert preacher will see and learn from the best ways they are communicated. Plantinga is an excellent reading companion as we search for ways to bring the Gospel to life from the pulpit Sunday by Sunday.
I'm glad to have Reading for Preaching as a resource and I highly recommend it to preachers who are serious about improving their craft.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In Reading for Preaching: the Preacher in Conversation with Storytellers, Biographers, Poets, and Journalists, Plantinga argues that preachers should engage in a program of reading... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Matt Carter
Excellent book on reading to develop sermons!
It's bewildering that those who claim to have the most purchase on the human condition and whose job it is to carve it's contours every Sunday are its most reliably banal and... Read morePublished 14 months ago by MrsOR
I am a pastor of a small church in southeast Michigan, and I am constantly looking for books in order to improve my preaching. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Jacob Elwart
I am only half way through but have learned so much. Lots to share with the students of my homiletics classes!Published 16 months ago by Mary Ann, OP
Plantinga is gifted, no doubt. I gleaned a number of insights and illustrations from him. But as a theological conservative who bought this book at Al Mohler's recommendation (and... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Mark L Ward Jr
Better than expected-- I bought another for a friend. Great metaphors, deeply moving, well-thought through, creativePublished 16 months ago by Linda B. Nelson
Plantinga makes a great argument that we not only read for preaching illustrations, but to get us in touch with the human predicament, the human experience, and parts of life we... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Dr. Marc Axelrod