Igniting the Heart
Preaching and Imagination
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It has been said that the day of the sermon is over. Kate Bruce argues that the day of the poorly conceived, ill prepared, dull, disconnected, boring, irrelevant, authoritarian, yawn-inducing, patronizing, pontificating, pointless and badly delivered sermon, is indeed over.
Imagination can help to engage the hearer in a sermon which seeks to evoke rather than to inform. Imagination frames how we see the world and ourselves in it. As such it has a vital role in how preachers see the preaching task itself, which in turn affects how we go about the task.
A theology of imagination is presented to demonstrate the central importance of imagination in the life of faith. Allied to this is an analysis of the sacramental nature of preaching and the role of imagination in enabling the 'aha, now I get it' moment of sacramental 'seeing-as'.
Connected to enabling new seeing, preaching in the lyrical voice is defined and discussed along with the importance of preachers shaping sermons for the ear.
'Just occasionally weary preachers stub their toes against treasure hidden beneath the surface of a well-trodden path. In this book Kate Bruce draws on her considerable experience as school teacher, parish priest, theological college tutor and stand-up comic. With an assured grasp of homiletic theory and a passion for creative sermon construction, she shows us how the imagination can disclose new worlds, turn our assumptions upside down, provoke us to ask 'what if?' and help us live in the minds of other people. In this she follows the example of Jesus who did not despise the parable, the haunting image, or the disturbing paradox. This is a book for preachers who would prefer their sermons to dance and sing rather than trudge, hobble and plod. -- David Day
'Kate Bruce has done congregations a great service by offering preachers a feast of ideas, insights and worked examples on the underexplored theme of preaching with the imagination. Her analysis is anchored in careful theology and attentive awareness of the contexts and cultures in which preaching is offered and received. The result is a gracious, well-argued and timely book, a treat-in-waiting for all preachers still alive to their task.' -- Bishop John Pritchard '
'Tired of dull boring sermons with no theological depth? And tired of dull boring books on preaching which equally lack theological depth? This book is the solution! Kate Bruce is an outstanding practitioner and teacher of preaching. Out of that expertise she shows how the interaction of the imagination with both the biblical text and contemporary culture can transform the preaching event and allow God to work in exciting and relevant ways. Honest, humane and humble, this is the book for all preachers who have a passion for God to speak.' -- Revd Professor David Wilkinson, Principal, St John's College Durham
'Expect to be enriched, challenged, encouraged and inspired by this book. Kate Bruce argues that the sermon is essential in the life of the Church and that imagination is essential for preaching that ignites the heart. An exploration of the theology of imagination and language, examples from sermons, models of preaching and guidance for good practice are offered in a book which will appeal to a wide readership. I commend this book to all preachers who hope that through their sermons God will be encountered as the Spirit breathes life into their words and hearts are warmed.' -- Ruth Gee was Chair of Methodist Conference (2013-14)
' Kate Bruce skips the conventional wisdom related to preaching and tackles the peculiar challenges and demands of the craft itself. She walks the reader through the creative process toward a fuller realization of the sacramental imagination. Her valuable book will remind us all--whether beginner or busy pastor--to love and cultivate the art we practice. -- Richard Lischer, Duke Divinity School, Author of The End of Words and Reading the Parables
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