Photo courtesy of former student Rev. Teri Ditslear
So here it is!! The much anticipated book list for my Finding Your Voice: A Course on Preaching
Offered this summer online at Anderson University, beginning May 30, 2013. This course is open to Anderson University School of Theology students and non students. For more information on how to enroll click here.
The course is dedicated to helping preaching persons develop skills in reading life and communicating grace; strengthening the spiritual muscles needed to sift through what seems mundane and profane in search of the sacred.
This is an experience in shimmering words and haunting images where we acquaint ourselves with the groaning’s of this world and the need for visions of hope and light in our darkness.
Barbara Brown Taylor, The Preaching Life (Lanham, Maryland: Cowley), 1993.
George Martin, Game of Thrones: A Song of Fire and Ice, Book 1 (New York: Bantam), 2010.
Lauren Winner, Still: Notes on a Mid Faith Crisis (New York: Harper), 2012
Will Willimon, Preaching Master Class: Lesson’s From Will Willimon’s Five Minute Preaching Class (Eugene, OR: Cascade), 2010
Texts will be augmented by numerous podcasts and primary sources from early mystics such as Hildegaard, Julian of Norwich, Teresa of Avila and John of Chrysostom. Students will experiment with different preaching styles in order to find the one that fits and work to understand the office of preacher as midwife, enduring with others to help them birth forth new life in hearts, homes, and communities.
The end is near. These are the days of the last class, the last exam, the last of the cookies and cake; thanks be to God. Time now to pack your belongings and set out into the world armed with your call, equipped with education. These are the days when we dust off the cap and gown and wrap arms around you and wipe away the tears.
This is where we speak a word of gratitude to you, whisper a prayer of thanksgiving for all the joy, hope and healthy tension you have brought into our lives; we embrace you and wish you well though we’d like to hold on for just a little while. We teach because we love to learn and you have taught us well. Your convictions buzzing around your head that you dared to speak, forbidden questions you found the courage to ask that caused us all to stretch and shake and know God; for this we give thanks.
We honor you with tassels and golden cords; drape you in the scarlet of theology as if to wrap you in the full armor of God though we send you out not to do battle but to sew goodness and light. We pray that by our stamp and seal you will remember your hermeneutic is love that your priority is not fortune’s folly but those who are broken and bruised, crushed under the feet of this world who await the kerygma you sing with your life, and they will know you by your love.
May the Holy Scriptures be your guide, not your idol nor your weapon but a testimony to the love that never fails, never ceases, endures beyond the grave. In the pages, worn and studied may you be reminded that you are never alone in your fear, in your doubt, in your struggle. May you be what Cain could not, the keeper of your brother and sister, the one who heeds the call of the prophets to remember the poor and will follow Christ to serve the least of these.
As you exegete Scripture, remember also to exegete life, find time to reflect, to center, to pray; may you hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church. Look hard for grace and redemption where they can be found and call them out. Laugh loud, work hard and forgive yourself when you make mistakes. Remember the Shabbat, find a way to keep it, you need space for rest and trust in your life.
As you go, remember this is your home, that in this place you found your way and that in these hallowed halls walk people who believe in you.
It is the season of last things. There are final papers, final presentations, final grades and gatherings; cake and cookies and the obligatory red punch of all ministry meaningful and otherwise, laughter and the blessed goodness of a long exhale.
I look across the chapel in the School of Theology, a holy place, an altar in my own pilgrimage, a place where I heard God and the place where I found my own voice, the place which is home now to our graduates stuffed into the hard wooden pews of the first four rows. Light pours in through the stain glassed windows and dances on the golden tassels and the deep scarlet, the bold, velvet fiber of theology.