Preaching that Shows
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For many years the resolution plot has dominated homiletical theory, made most famous by the 'Lowry Loop' - a staple of preaching theory for today's ministry student. Whilst the approach is important, some have accused 'resolution plot' of leaving little room for ambiguity, and failing to reflect the messy reality of life.
Offering a ground-breaking approach as a counter to well-worn preaching strategies, this book explores the 'revelatory plot', focused more on the gradual revelation of relevant truths within the biblical text through character and embodied insight, and through imaginative and sensory detail rather than through answering the questions 'how and 'why'. It will prove an invaluable resource for students, homileticians and preachers alike.
This book has a supporting website: www.preachingthatshows.com
1. Show and Plot 3
2. A Constellation of Characteristics 17
3. Embodiment and the Language of Earth 33
4. Art and the Sermon 50
5. Every Picture Tells a Story? 64
6. Creating Sermons that Show 77
7. Issues, Beginnings and Endings 92
8. The Language of Showing 109
9. A Big Issue 124
10. Imagination 136
11. Interpretation 153
12. Knowing 164
13. Where is the Application? 178
14. Theological Foundations 196
15. Sermons and Commentary 207
Concluding Thoughts 236
Index of Bible References 237
Index of Names and Subjects 241
'Theologically grounded, drawing widely from art and contemporary culture, Margaret Cooling offers preachers new inspiration with a plethora of rich practical examples. She takes the bible with the utmost seriousness, and equips preachers to speak into situations messy and unresolved. Eminently, readable and rich; this book is a must for every preacher’s bookshelf and every homiletic course reading list. Simply brilliant!' -- Revd Dr Kate Bruce, Author of Igniting the Heart (2015)
"A wonderfully engaging book! Margaret Cooling unpacks the old saying ‘Don’t tell me, show me’, taking preachers into what may be largely uncharted territory. Fortunately she is a skilful guide, exploring the world of the revelatory sermon, where characters display all the ambiguity of real life, the Bible is handled with imagination, doctrines are embodied, art and poetry have a key role to play, faith is worked out in ordinary life and ‘the message’ is not always buttoned up tight. The reader will profit from her grasp of homiletical theory but may be encouraged even more by the dozens of ‘worked examples’ which she offers." -- David Day, author of 'The Preaching Workbook' (2004)
"What if God is in this place – my messy and mundane existence where I live, work, and play – though I didn’t know it? Seeing the here and now as the house of God makes all the difference. And that’s the promise of Margaret Cooling’s epiphany, her book acting as a Jacob’s ladder of sorts. It guides preachers to dwell bodily in the details of Bible – its characters, settings, and revelatory plots – and emerge with good news to share that makes a difference right where Christ has called us to be. LICC has long sought Spirit-filled and art-full ways of engaging the Scriptures that dynamically bridge this ancient word and the contemporary Christian’s world. Thank God for Margaret’s insight, which on every level shows us the way." -- Dr Dave Benson, Director of Culture and Discipleship, The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity (LICC