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Conversations with Barth on Preaching Paperback – May 1, 2006
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About the Author
Feeling most at home behind a pulpit, Will Willimon’s deepest calling is to be a preacher and truth-teller of Jesus Christ. He is Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry at Duke University Divinity School and retired Bishop of the North Alabama Conference of The United Methodist Church, after serving for 20 years as faculty member and Dean of the Chapel at Duke University. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.
Will Willimon has published many books, including his preaching subscription service on MinistryMatters.com, Pulpit Resource, and Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love, both published by Abingdon Press.
Top Customer Reviews
Dr. Willimon is used to addressing a well-educated audience and in this book we find him taking the high road of theological thinking and are glad of it. The book presents the main arguments supplemented in each case by indented additional material (all well worth reading--but the author says from the outset that one can read the book omitting these and have the whole thought presented). He also intersperses some of his own sermons to serve as illustrations of his hope to adhere to the precepts of Barth in moving from scripture to homely.
It is easy to draw ideas but hard to draw conclusions about this book because the reader is apt to return again and again to it, to see what else might be worthy of consideration for the preaching moment of next Sunday. This reader hopes to incorporate ideas expressed in this book in future, and looks forward to the feedback from the people in the pews. Other readers will probably want to do the same.
I only wish that Dr. Willimon had included some of Dr. Barth's sermons in translation that have not appeared in English heretofore. What an added treat that would have been.
Not long ago I watched contestants on a travel reality show as they tried to eat more than their share of a long link of sausage. This book reminds me of that.Read more ›
Willimon is an appreciative reader of Barth, but he is not uncritical. At many points he delares what Barth has to say, and then states where, in his view, Barth has gone to far. He is up front with his own theological inclinations, and does not hesitate to point out where Barth has mis-stated the case. Still, he is very much in agreement with what that great mind has to say about the task of speaking for God. I felt as if I was going on an intelectual journey of a great preacher being taught by a great theologian. Wonderful! I encourage all pastors and preachers who have an affinity to the thought of Karl Barth to pick this up.
This book centres around the practice of preaching in light of Barth's theology and makes the point that a good preacher is a good theologian. That is to preach is to bear witness faithfully to the gospel as God's free act in toward his creatures, not eloquent rhetoric (although Barth is good at that too, despite his dislike of it!).
Read and enjoy!
Please forgive the long quote from this book. But if the above quote went from your ears, through your brain, and ended up in your gut because of what you see as its singular, forceful, clear-sighted explanation of what you know preaching really SHOULD BE, not what it is from week to week, than this book is for you. It's not an easy, quick read--but Will Willimon has written a great book, one that will challenge preachers who take the time to digest its insights. Highly recommended.