Wednesday (May 15) Highlights

Joy J. Moore and Brian McLaren at Festival of Homiletics 2024

Wednesday was full of deep insights shared by passionate leaders, preachers, and scholars. Here’s an overview of the program along with some comments by livestream viewers.

Grace Ji-Sun Kim sermon on Matthew 22:15-21: “Give to God What is God’s”

Kim focused on this commandment from Jesus with a question that many clergy may experience: “How are we to give back when we’re already giving and we’re exhausted?” Yet, she continues, “As we give, we become joyous. Joy creates excitement, energy in your body.” When we give, the energy (breath) of God is in us.

Angela Dienhart Hancock lecture: “The Rest of the Story: Biblical Narrative and Slow Preaching”

Lee Ann posted on Instagram Hancock’s wisdom, “Consultation is no substitute for contemplation.”

One livestream viewer, Anthony, wrote: “Angela Hancock’s lecture is probably the one that has resonated with me most.”

Brian McLaren lecture: “You Have Permission”

McLaren gave listeners four permissions: to face reality; to declare an emergency; to fall back on love when faith and hope fail; and permission to take the long view.

Livestream viewer, Peter, commented: “I was moved by Brian McLaren’s deeply pastoral message to clergy leaders and his wisdom for the Church.”

Willie James Jennings lecture, “To Give Witness to Communion”

Earlier in the morning, Willie James Jennings preached a sermon on John 5:1-11 titled, “To Be Healed from Service.”

In his lecture, Jennings dwelled in Howard Thurman’s deepest sense of God-drenched life, sharing poetry (his own and that of Wendell Berry, Ada Limon, and others).

One livestream viewer related: “I appreciate Willie James Jennings’ illustration of the ‘sticky burden’ of pastoral ministry.”

Cody Sanders’ lecture: “Preaching Your Way through an Apocalypse: Homiletics of Feral Hope amid Collapse”

Sanders provided three dimensions of feral hope: Transcendence, togetherness, and tethering. As one chat participant noted, “Wow, there is so much to reflect on and process. Thank you.”

Janice added in the livestream chat: “Cody Sanders spoke to my soul.”

Amy Butler workshop: “Telling a Story that Matters”

Find a separate blog post summarizing this session.

Nicole M. Garcia workshop: “Queering Homiletics”

Jacqueline Lewis sermon on Genesis 3:1-24 “Fixing Broken Theology”

Lewis preached on the story of the snake and the power that preachers have to reinterpret problematic scripture passages.

Pearl mentioned in the livestream chat: “Could not choose between Thema Bryant, Anna Carter Florence, Willie James Jennings, Jacqueline Lewis, Fixing Broken Theology. I want to go back and listen to these sermons and lectures over and over again.”

Raymond Aldred sermon on John 17:13-19: “The Sanctifying Work of the Suffering Church”

Raymond Aldred preached on holiness, saying that we forget that holiness is about bringing things together, not just on doing the right thing at the right time. He also preached on reconciliation, saying “The world does not like those who pursue life and wholeness because it threatens the status quo. The empire does not like free people.”

Rolf Jacobson workshop: “A Spirituality of Preaching”

In Rolf Jacobson’s workshop at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary on the spirituality of preaching, Jacobson offered a new perspective on preaching and the preacher’s approach to the task. Preaching is a spirituality practice that brings together loving the text and loving the people.

Jeffrey Myers and Jonathon Jensen: “Pause & Reflect: Jews Praying in a Church?”

Beer & Hymns at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Bluegrass band The Fleshpots of Egypt led Beer & Hymns at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

Photo credit: Keith Andrew Spencer, Festival Photographer