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Preaching Re-imagined : The Role of the Sermon in Communities of Faith

3.1 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Zondervan (2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310267994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310267997
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Miller on September 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Pagitt has taken a stand against oratory in general. For a book on preaching, it is guaranteed to be lost in the history of the discipline, buried under better works.

Pagitt's contention is that oratory, to which he gives the inane and grammatically painful term, "speaching," exalts an individual to an undeserved position of authority which doesn't honor the community's role in discerning truth. Instead, he recommends the equally painful "dialogical progression" (as though any dialogues don't have an intended progress), which boils down to nothing more than talking with his audience. What Pagitt lacks, and what I'll go to pains to detail, is 1) any biblical foundation, 2) any accurate understandings of history, and 3) any proof that his own methods are fruitful.

Pagitt makes wild claims about dialoging with the audience to be a biblical norm, even stating that speeches in the Bible are a rarity. This is, in a word, nonsense. In nearly every book of the Bible someone makes a speech, and in every case, the Bible exalts their speaking with authority FOR the community, and not merely with the community. Pagitt offers no proof that his assertions about what the Bible says and does are accurate.

Secondly, Pagitt makes the completely unfounded and uncited claim that "speaching," or oratory in general, are a product of the Enlightenment. Anyone with a college education will find this intellectually insulting. From the ancient greco-roman orators, whose methods influenced the biblical writings, history and timelessly and repeatedly proven the effectiveness of oratory (that is, of a speaker in authority moving an audience to an intended purpose).
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Format: Hardcover
This is a book that those who currently teach preaching and those who practice the art of preaching would do well not to miss.

Doug Pagitt, aside from being an excellent communicator, is also a top notch, challenging thinker. In Preaching Re-Imagined he lays out the problem (preaching as we know it is broken- the same people hear the same messages year after year and yet continue to struggle with the same problems) and some of the standard reasons why people imagine preaching is ineffective (the problem is the people, the method, the preacher, the content, etc).

Those aren't the problem, Pagitt says. Rather, the issue is "speaching", that is, defining preaching down to simply a monologue. And a steady diet of monologue is detrimental to the soul of the community- when all the communication runs in one direction, there are unintended consequences both to the speaker and the hearers. It may be fine in the short term, but long term this tends to stunt the growth of all involved.

Doug advocates something he calls progressional dialogue- becoming communities who listen to the preachers among us, not only the preacher standing in front of us.

This is a seriously great book that will challenge anyone who fills the role of "preacher" for his or her community to consider the impact their method may have on the hearers, and to consider from the ground-up the "hows", "whys" and "whats" of preaching.

Check this book out- even if you are at a size as a church where dialogue has become impossible on Sundays, there's much here to glean. This book serves as a wake up call for pastors to once again begin involving the people in the work of teaching one another.

A quote:

"As pastor I want to be part of a community where the workings of God are imbedded in all, where the roles of teaching and learning aren't mine alone, but instead are intrinsic to who we are as a people."

Amen.
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Format: Hardcover
Doug Pagitt is convinced that preaching would be more faithful to Biblical faith formation and the nurturing of healthy communities if it were more dialogical and less monologue (I agree). Encourage people to respond to statements by the preacher and to each other, and you communicate worth of their insight and enrich the preaching event.

There you go, you don't need to read the book now, everything else is redundancy or gross exaggerations of the downside of not taking his approach. It's as if he's never heard a well crafted sermon from a pastor who knows and loves his/her congregation, and as if preaching is the only event in the life of a congregation. He says at one point "Speaching also strips away any chance for people in the congregation to feel known and understood by their pastor." Oh come on. There is also no acknowledgment of the good purpose of having someone who is trained and dedicated to studying the Word and bringing teaching to the congregation. Not everyone gets a lot out of their own reading of the scripture, not everyone has time to really dig into the history and meaning of the context or the original language. That's something preachers give to their congregations.
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Format: Hardcover
The book "Preaching Re-Imagined" re-discovers and re-packages the idea of dialogical preaching. Creative styles of preaching in general, and dialogical styles of preaching in particular, have been discussed and used for a long time. While this book doesn't present anything "new," it does offer a practical guide to understanding one way of preaching in a conversational style. This style is characterized by preparing and facilitating the sermon collaboratively. The most helpful aspect of this book is it's practicality. But other books also describe similar approaches.

John McClure's book "The Round-Table Pulpit" describes "collaborative preaching" where the pastor hosts a "sermon roundtable." Lucy Rose's book "Sharing the Word" suggests "conversational preaching" where "the preacher and the congregation are colleagues, exploring together the mystery of the Word of God for their own lives, as well as the life of the congregation, the larger church, and the world." Mark Elliot's book "Creative Styles of Preaching" describes nine different styles of preaching. All of these books add to the growing cannon of books on creative styles of preaching.
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