Reimagining preaching?

Doug Pagitt: Preaching Re-Imagined: The Role of the Sermon in Communities of Faith (Zondervan, 2005) I got hold of this because I wanted to read the best arguments for dialogical preaching; Glen suggested to me that this was one of the key texts. I found it particularly interesting, because it doesn’t assume the standard (in my experience) dialogical argument (the role of preaching is to convey information; but, monologues are a poor way of conveying information; therefore, monologue preaching is poor preaching; it seems to me that neither premise is sustainable…) Pagitt’s argument/vision starts with a concept of community: Christian communities are to be places of genuine relationship; the role of Bible is to be ‘an authoritative member of our community, one we...

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Prayer and productivity

‘Prayer is … a protest against the pragmatic…’ That claim, made by Jim Gordon in a comment on this post, has stuck with me. Over the last six months or so, I have been attempting, with mixed degrees of success, to find new habits of prayer, and new habits of productivity, for my life – both in different ways a response to necessity (or at least what I perceived to be necessity). The three things stuck to the wall next to my monitor as I type are a cross, a picture of my daughters, and an annotated flowchart entitled ‘mastering workflow’. I have wondered along the way whether in fact I was trying to do two contradictory things – whether prayer and productivity simply pulled in different directions. Are that cross and...

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Spiritual direction in the nonconformist tradition

There has been a recent, and welcome, tradition of the various Principals of our Baptist colleges in the UK publishing jointly-authored books (something of the story of how this came to be is told in a chapter in Fiddes, et al., Doing Theology in A Baptist Way (Whitley, 2000)); the most recent contribution is in the Regent’s Study Guides series, Fiddes (ed.), Under the Rule of Christ: Dimensions of Baptist Spirituality (Smyth & Helwys, 2008). The various chapters in the book treat various themes, not including spiritual direction: Paul Fiddes and Steve Finnamore look at ‘Baptists and Spirituality’; Richard Kidd looks at suffering; Nigel Wright at ‘Spirituality as Discipleship: the Anabaptist heritage’; Jim Gordon treats...

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