Table of Contents

1. The Culture Shock of Preaching

2. Aiming toward Contextual Preaching

3. Exegeting the Congregation

4. Preaching as Local Theology

5. Preaching as Folk Art”
Leonora Tubbs Tisdale, Preaching As Local Theology and Folk Art

“actually many pastors in the United States who, like cross-cultural missionaries, are struggling to proclaim the Gospel to people whose worlds are different from their own.”
Leonora Tubbs Tisdale, Preaching As Local Theology and Folk Art
“In chapter 2 1 propose that one way to bridge this gap is to view preaching as an act of constructing “local theology”-that is, theology crafted for a very particular people in a particular time and place. Like theologies that have emerged from base communities in Latin America, preaching is a highly contextual act, requiring its practitioners to consider context as seriously as they consider biblical text in the interpretive process. Indeed, if we preachers want to reflect in our own proclamation the God who became incarnate for our sakes (meeting us on our turf), to remove from our own preaching any “false stumbling blocks” that might hinder a faithful hearing of the gospel, and to bring the gospel and contemporary life together in ways that capture and transform congregational imaginations, then we necessarily must first attend carefully to the contexts in which we are preaching.”
Leonora Tubbs Tisdale, Preaching As Local Theology and Folk Art
      “In Chapter 3 I turn toward the task of congregational exegesis, outlining a very practical method for interpreting congregational subcultures that can be engaged by busy pastors while carrying on the ordinary tasks of ministry. Drawing on the expertise of authors in the fields of congregational studies and cultural anthropology, this chapter identifies seven symbols of congregational life that hold particular promise for revealing cultural and theological identity, and provides interpretive frameworks through
which the local pastor can deepen his or her understanding of the congregation’s own worldview, values, and ethos. At stake is not only enhanced cultural understanding, but also a deepening awareness of the local theologies that already exist within the life of a congregation (beliefs regarding God, humanity, nature, time, the church, and their interrelationships).
      Chapter 4 then turns to the question: “So, what difference does all this make for the theology of preaching?” Here we revisit the “text-to-sermon” process (revisioned as a “con/text-to-sermon” process), observing how greater attention to congregational context at each juncture-from the selection of biblical texts for proclamation, to the pastor’s initial reading of them, to the methods used for biblical interpretation, to the discernment of fitting themes and strategies for proclamation-can positively contribute toward preaching as local theology. Sermons of local pastors, preached in their own unique congregational contexts, provide real-life examples of contextual theologizing in”
Leonora Tubbs Tisdale, Preaching As Local Theology and Folk Art
“Finally, in chapter 5, we turn toward the art of the sermon, exploring ways in which an enhanced emphasis upon contextuality in preaching can also contribute to sermons that are more fitting for local congregations in regard to their language, illustrations, and form. Here preaching is likened to folk art-more particularly to a circular folk dance-in which the preacher stays close to the ground of the hearers, enfleshing the sermon in language, rhythms, and forms that encourage local hearers to want to put on their own dancing shoes and join in the dance of faith.”
Leonora Tubbs Tisdale, Preaching As Local Theology and Folk Art
“Almost by instinct I began to incorporate more narrative in my preaching, in part because storytelling seemed to be the one communicational mode I could depend upon to cross lines of education and age.”
Leonora Tubbs Tisdale, Preaching As Local Theology and Folk Art
“How does a pastor get to know the listeners as “congregation” so that the Word can take root and grow in local soil? Craddock recommends three strategies: formal, informal, and empathetic imagi- nation.45”
Leonora Tubbs Tisdale, Preaching As Local Theology and Folk Art
“Focus” and “function” statements (which articulate respectively the central theological affirmation of the sermon and the sermon’s intended “affect” upon the hearers) are to be prepared with specific congregations in mind, acknowledging that a shift in congregational context may well necessitate a shift in sermonic focus and function.” Illustrations and examples are to be selected which can address and are reflective of the diversity of life situations and experiences congregants bring to the preaching event.”
Leonora Tubbs Tisdale, Preaching As Local Theology and Folk Art