Rewiring Your Preaching: How the Brain Processes Sermons

Overview

What preachers preach is not necessarily what hearers hear.

Have you ever wondered why some hearers are affected by a sermon but not others? The issue may not necessarily be the content or delivery of the message. It may be how your hearers' brains process what you say.

Modern neuroscience illuminates how our brains understand and hear sermons. Verbal stimuli can be accepted or rejected depending on the context of how they are received. The ...

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Rewiring Your Preaching: How the Brain Processes Sermons

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Overview

What preachers preach is not necessarily what hearers hear.

Have you ever wondered why some hearers are affected by a sermon but not others? The issue may not necessarily be the content or delivery of the message. It may be how your hearers' brains process what you say.

Modern neuroscience illuminates how our brains understand and hear sermons. Verbal stimuli can be accepted or rejected depending on the context of how they are received. The brain processes new information differently than information that reinforces already-held beliefs. To have long-term effect, new information must connect with previous memory.

Psychologist, physician and preacher Richard Cox shows that better understanding of the brain can help preachers be more effective in their preaching. Intentional, purposeful preaching can actually produce new neural pathways that change how the brain thinks and how its owner acts. Our brains are intimately connected with how our bodies work, especially in how brain stimuli produce behavioral responses and how people experience comfort and healing in times of pain.

God is at work in our brains to enable his people to hear him. Preach with the brain in mind, and help your hearers grow in mental, physical and spiritual health.

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Editorial Reviews

Michael Quicke
"Refreshingly, this book draws on the author's unique blend of theology, medicine and psychology, applying insights from neuroscience to sharpen understanding of the preaching event. It surprises, both by explaining links between brain and sermon and also by its wide reach of application that embraces worship, pastoring, healing and community. A different preaching book that really stimulates the preacher's brain!"
Dan G. Blazer
"Richard Cox expertly and passionately exhorts those who occupy the pulpit to acquire the knowledge and skills from the brain sciences that can inform and shape their sermons. He clearly has worked diligently and effectively to do the same."
Will Willimon
"This is an intriguing, insightful look at the task of preaching from the perspective of the neurosciences. Dr. Richard Cox gives us preachers a new way of framing the preaching task. His work helps me to think about my own preaching in new and challenging ways."
From the foreword by Dan G. Blazer
"Richard Cox expertly and passionately exhorts those who occupy the pulpit to acquire the knowledge and skills from the brain sciences that can inform and shape their sermons. He clearly has worked diligently and effectively to do the same."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830841011
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 12/6/2012
  • Pages: 182
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard H. Cox (M.D., Ph.D., D.Min) is president emeritus of Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri, and teaches in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical School. He previously served on the faculties of Northwestern University Medical School and Rush University Medical School. An ordained clergyman in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Cox is the author of many journal articles and books, including The Sacrament of Psychology and Spirituality and Psychological Health.

Blazer (M.D., Ph.D.) is dean of medical education and J. P. Gibbons Professor of Psychiatry at the Duke University School of Medicine. He has authored or edited nineteen books, as well as hundreds of book chapters and peer-reviewed articles. Blazer is also an elder at the Brooks Avenue Church of Christ, Raleigh, North Carolina.

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Table of Contents

Foreward
Chapter Synopses
Preface
1. A Brainstorm Versus a Short Circuit
2. Linking Brain and Sermon
3. The Brain Sees Preaching As Unique
4. The Brain Uses Preaching For Healing
5. The Core Process of Preaching is Brain Work
6. Preaching Provides Brain Energy
7. Brain Stimuli Produce Behavioral Responses
8. Preaching and Pastoring Are Different
9. Getting To the Brain with Theology
10. Preaching and the Brain in Pain
11. Brain Healing and the Soul
12. Brain Healing and the Mind
13. Brain Healing and the Body
14. Brain Healing and the Community
Dénouement and Benediction
Acknowledgments
Appendix: Checklist for Sermon Preparation
Notes
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