Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Book Review: We Preach Christ Crucified
Preaching is the heart of this new anthology recently published by Liturgical Press. We Preach Christ Crucified is a collection of essays and talks that were delivered at a conference on preaching hosted by the University of Notre Dame in June 2012. It includes a collection of seventeen essays by some noteworthy theologians, pastors, and preachers such as Barbara Reid, Jan Michael Joncas, Mary Catherine Hilkert, and John Cavadini among others. The essays also reflect a wide range of sub-topics such as preaching in the presence of children, preaching and the liturgical experience, the African-American experience of preaching, preaching among the poor, as well as some challenges and choices with preaching in the 21st century. There is literally something for everyone in this book.
Even though I am a well seasoned pastor I always try to learn something new in order to improve my sermons. Preaching may seem easy to our parishioners but its a challenge to create a well crafted, inspiring, and hopefully encouraging and uplifting sermon each week. I often feel like I've reaches the bottom of the well on certain gospel lessons yet if I look hard I always find something new to offer my community.
We Preach Christ Crucified needs to be read by both seminary students and pastors who want to get some new insights on preaching. The essay on "Preaching and Children" for example inspired me to read a book by Sofia Cavaletta, a student of the great Maria Montessori. Cavaletti's work involves children and how they view spirituality, God, and how they deal with mystery. I got it through my local library's inter-library loan department. I have quite a few children and Church and I hope that my sermons also touch their hearts as well. We often think we are only preaching to our adult members but we can easily forget that we have a parish full of young children who absorb what we say like sponges. We cannot forget to use basic, everyday images that also appeal to them as well.
I can go on and on about We Preach Christ Crucified but I don't have the time to elaborate. If you are interested in improving your sermons. If you are interested in what scholars today are saying about preaching in a way that is highly readable and important for us as clergy and for our laity, then go and read We Preach Christ Crucified.
Click here to read more about the book