Archives For Preaching


October 13 marks the Birthday of Lauren Winner, noted author, and seminary professor at Duke Divinity School.

In honor of the occasion, we offer a series of brief video clips that introduce her work…

*** Books by Lauren Winner

Being Clothed in Christ:

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A Disciplined Eye
for the Hyper-Local

An Abridged Review of

As Kingfishers Catch Fire: A Conversation on the Ways of God Formed by the Words of God
Eugene Peterson

Hardback: Waterbook, 2017
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Reviewed by David Swanson

This is a brief clip of a review that appears in
our forthcoming Eastertide 2017 magazine issue…

The issue with this review
will mail next week.

and be sure to receive it!

While reading through these sermons it is easy to imagine something about the women and men who comprised Peterson’s suburban congregation. The sentences and illustrations seem to hold in mind particular people with their very particular lives. In a sermon titled “Holy, Holy, Holy” from Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4, the pastor addresses his people gently:

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The Surprising Nature of Scripture.
A Review of

Preaching the Luminous Word: Biblical Sermons and Homiletical Essays
Ellen Davis 

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2016
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]


Reviewed by Joseph Johnson

This Book was Featured as one of 
Our Best Books of 2016

Near the beginning of Preaching the Luminous Word, Ellen F. Davis describes herself as “an exegete who teaches Old Testament and preaches, in that order” (xxiv). I’m grateful for that. It means the sermons gathered together in these pages are born out of a love for exegesis and attentive theological study, and it allows her to open up the unendingly rich and surprising world of Scripture in ways that invite her hearers and readers to slow down and linger with the text. Though her main academic background is in the Old Testament, Davis’s sermons in this volume reflect her engagement over the years with both the Old and New Testaments, delivered on a variety of occasions and in the midst of the seasonal rhythms of the Church’s liturgical calendar.

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How to Address the Issues of the Day?
A Review of

Preaching Poilitics:
Proclaiming Jesus in an Age of Money, Power, and Partisanship

Clay Stauffer.

Paperback: Chalice Press, 2016.
Buy now:  [  Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
Reviewed by Bob Cornwall
*** This review originally appeared on the writer’s blog,
     and is reprinted here with permission.

I was raised in a politically active household. My father was chair of the Siskiyou County Republican Party and had a regular radio spot. He even made it into Who’s Who in American Politics. I did my part as a child going door to door handing out brochures and buttons for candidates ranging from local to national. I even imagined becoming a politician. I’ve really never been as politically active as I was at age fourteen.

I remain extremely interested in politics, but as a pastor I must temper my political activities. That is, I have to remember that I serve a congregation that isn’t politically homogeneous. While I do engage in community organizing and address prophetically (hopefully) important issues that have political implications, I don’t bring a partisan vision into the pulpit. Preachers often walk fine line when it comes to politics. Many of us believe it is important to speak to controversial issues, but we also must take a pastoral approach. At a time when the body politic is increasingly polarized this becomes incredibly difficult. This especially true when the conversation involves money.

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Learning to Tell Stories
An Interview with Walter Wangerin, Jr.

By Joe Krall

ERB intern Joe Krall recently had the opportunity to chat on the phone with Walter about his new memoir:

Everlasting is the Past

Rabbit Room Press, 2015
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

An extended version of this interview will appear in our Fall print issue.
(Are you a subscriber?)


ERB: You’ve written both fiction and nonfiction that has impacted many, many people. In Everlasting is the Past, you chose to tell three inter-connected stories – your story of doubt and finding faith, your story of call, and the story of Grace Lutheran Church. What motivated this memoir, and why did you structure the memoir as you did?

WWJ: Well, I suppose this is something I’ve thought about for a long time, especially the depression that I felt in graduate school, and then that whole episode with the sheep. It seemed to me, by now, a natural thing to present that story, and to make it a kind of a hinge, between what goes before it and the events that follow – parts two and three. But there was not a time when I suddenly said, “Oh! Let me write this.” I think it was always just somewhere in the back of my mind.

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The Beauty and Necessity of Diversity

A Feature Review of

Lisa Washington Lamb
Blessed and Beautiful: Multiethnic Churches and the Preaching that Sustains Them
Paperback: Cascade Books, 2014

Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
Reviewed by Dorothy Littell Greco


Given our nation’s current trend toward polarization, author and pastor Lisa Washington Lamb’s new book Blessed and Beautiful: Multiethnic Churches and the Preaching that Sustains Them asks one of the most salient questions of the day; What does it take to create and maintain healthy, multiethnic churches?


She writes, “Ethnic-specific churches have historically been strong settings for transmitting and preserving values and traditions, especially for marginalized minority communities. Are multiethnic churches able to do the same?” (1)

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Missional Preaching - Al TizonCarrying out the Missio Dei

A Review of

Missional Preaching:

Engage, Embrace, Transform

Al Tizon

Paperback: Judson Press, 2012
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Jordan Kellicut.

Preaching is a dangerous task, not only because the preacher dares engage the Word of God, but because he would dare to share it as a prophetic voice.  Al Tizon challenges us to take up that prophetic voice in Missional Preaching: Engage, Embrace, Transform. This is not a manual on “how to preach a missional sermon,” instead it explores missional principles and then relates them to the practice of preaching.  The book is divided into two sections: Part 1 “The Essentials of Missional Preaching,” and Part 2 “The Goals of Missional Preaching.”

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Mashup Religion - John McClureEncouraging Creative Combinations

Mashup Religion:

Pop Music and Theological Invention

John McClure

Paperback: Baylor UP, 2012.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Adam P. Newton

To the uninitiated, the term “mashup” probably doesn’t sound too appealing, and when applied to the context of theology, it would seem especially spurious and dangerous in certain ecclesial circles. However, the average pop music fan would define the term “mashup” as such: a new song that combines material from two different songs, often from different genres, with the purpose re-introducing those original songs to the listener by providing fresh energy in an inventive context. Typically, these mashups fall into one of two primary categories: 1) the lyrics from one popular song (whether pop, rock, R&B, hip-hop, etc.) are laid atop the musical hook from another popular selection, usually to charm a wide range of people; or 2) the lyrics from a well-known track are combined with the hook from a lesser-known song, often attracting folks who listen to music outside of the musical mainstream.

Thus, the beauty of John McClure’s new book – Mashup Religion: Pop Music and Theological Invention – is in how deftly and intelligently he creates a powerful metaphor wherein he directly and positively teaches how theological practitioners in the 21st century have much to learn from their music-making contemporaries. Continue Reading…


A Brief Review of

John and Charles Wesley:
Selections from Their Writings and Hymns,
Annotated and Explained
Annotated by Paul Wesley Chilcote.
Paperback: SkyLight Paths Publishing, 2011.
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Douglas Connelly

John and Charles Wesley left a spiritual legacy that has touched every facet of Christianity.  Even those traditions that are non-Wesleyan have been affected by the fervor and warmth of the Wesleyan revivals in the eighteenth century and in the revivalists who followed in the Wesley’s footsteps.

Paul Wesley Chilcote, a professor of theology and Wesleyan studies at Ashland Theological Seminary, has given the interested reader a moving and helpful introduction to the sermons, hymns, and theological writings of these two brothers.  He begins with a brief but thorough sketch of the lives and influence of the Wesleys.  They grew up in an Anglican pastor’s home and never really cut their ties to the Anglican Church.  It was only after their deaths that what became known as Methodism moved away (or was pushed away) from the Church of England.

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Review of Two New Books by Doug Pagitt.


Reviewed by Amy Gentile.

As Christians learn to navigate what it means to be the Church in the 21st century, there is an important question that must be raised. How do we stay faithful to God’s witness throughout history, the teachings of Scripture and the historic orthodox faith, yet also explore new forms and structures for these teachings as we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit? Doug Pagitt’s books, Community in the Inventive Age and Preaching in the Inventive Age, offer insights that deserve thoughtful reflection.

Pagitt begins both books with a description of several different ages: the Agrarian Age, Industrial Age, Information Age, and finally, the Inventive Age. He also describes some of the unique values of “the Inventive Age” including, but not limited to: “inclusion, participation, collaboration and beauty.” He sees a world being marked by creativity and community, dialogue and openness, and in Community in the Inventive Age, sets forth a vision for what an Inventive Age Church might look like.

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