Word Made Plain

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Preaching mediates the word of God into a cultural matrix. And no American preaching has done so more effectively and powerfully than African American preaching, claims noted homiletician James Harris. Known for its rhetorical strength, social-justice orientation, and dead-on connection to the community's lived experience, black preaching is here analyzed and proposed as a model for all preaching.

Harris grounds black preaching in the self-understanding of the historic black church and its most prominent preachers, from Martin Luther King Jr. to Samuel Proctor. Harris also explores the hermeneutical and aesthetic dimensions of preaching, especially at the intersection of sacred text and the broader culture. He then lays out the specific distinguishing characteristics of black preaching, including verbal cadence and rhythm, use of gestures, and, most thoroughly, the narrative model of the sermon. His last chapter, ''Preaching Plainly,'' provides specific instructions on how to put the sermon together employing this model.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780800636876
  • Publisher: Augsburg Fortress, Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/1/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 330,781
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Table of Contents

1 The preacher's self-understanding 1
The black church and self-understanding 3
The selfhood of the preacher : the example of Martin Luther King Jr. 4
The self in community 15
Sermon : everybody's talking (Luke 4:31-37) 23
2 The preaching of the elders : princes of the African American pulpit 30
John Malcus Ellison : the personality and interpretive mind of the preacher 31
Samuel DeWitt Proctor : the ethical dimensions of a sermon 33
Miles Jerome Jones : on being an authentic preacher 35
Sermon : from talk to testimony (Mark 8:27-30) 44
3 The sermon as interpretation 51
The polyvalence of the sermon 53
The deep symbolism of plain words 54
Textuality and dialogue preaching 57
Understanding and response 60
Interpretation of novels as a hermeneutical discipline 65
Sermon : the power of God (Ephesians 1:18-23) 71
4 The sermon as art 77
Beyond the limits of reason alone 78
Nommo and Kuntu : word and style in preaching 81
Embodied preaching : gestures 83
A soulful sound : the aural and the oral 90
Rhythm and cadence in preaching 91
Style switching 94
Sermon : second chances (Jonah 3:1-3a) 95
5 The sermon as story 100
African American preaching as imagination 102
Telling the story : narrative structure in sermons 111
Cultural origins of storytelling 118
Sermon : when Jesus was in the house (Mark 2:1-5) 119
6 Preaching plainly : how to put the sermon together - the Harris method 127
Preaching and worship 128
The word made plain 129
The preacher and the biblical and congregational text 131
Developing the sermon 133
Sermon : a question of identity - chaos, self, and other (Luke 8:22-25) 140
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