Based on several years of teaching and careful observation in preaching classes, this book by Michael Brothers explores the benefits of "distance" in preaching -- and listening to -- sermons.
Having noticed that sermon listeners generally want to be given room for their own interpretations and experiences, Brothers argues that critical and aesthetic distance as a hermeneutical tool is vital to hearing the gospel today and should be intentionally employed in sermon construction and delivery. He explains this "distance" in the field of homiletics, equips teachers and students of preaching to evaluate the function of distance in sermons, and encourages preachers to practice the use of distance in their preaching.
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Michael A. Brothers is associate professor of speech communication in ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary.Review:
Concordia Pulpit Resources
"A clear and helpful presentation on a somewhat odd, but surprisingly useful, topic of 'distance' in preaching. . . . Much can be gained from this book."
— San Francisco Theological Seminary
"Michael Brothers sheds startling new light on the performance aspects of preaching. He not only maps critical concepts and skills but raises important questions about how the preacher's integrity and spirituality are brought to bear in the act of preaching. Preachers and teachers of preachers have been waiting for this book."
Richard F. Ward
— Phillips Theological Seminary
"In a communication environment characterized by a craving for the immediate and the sensational, Michael Brothers' thoughtful discussion of 'distance' provides welcome relief. Here is an invigorating treatment of an aesthetic principle that has profoundly shaped homiletical practice across generations. You want to learn what makes preaching effective? Study this book."
— Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Lenoir-Rhyne University
"Michael Brothers has done his homework - and ours as well. Preachers constantly struggle with how to address their listeners and how to proclaim the biblical narratives. . . . This is a welcome book for preachers who find that the competing voices in homiletical method have made it difficult to apply any method with assurance. Distance in Preaching allows us to move through controversy to confidence. Bravo!"
"Distance in Preaching takes us on a scholarly journey that is academically thorough and helpfully applied."
The Presbyterian Outlook
"Any preacher who is willing to take a hard look at assumptions about preaching and reimagine a new way to preach and trust the hearer must read this book. Any preacher who has heard Fred Craddock preach or has read his sermons and wants to understand his way of preaching and his why of preaching should read this book. And anyone who wonders what matters in preaching communication today should take seriously this worthwhile read."
"Distance in Preaching is not for those looking for a 'how to preach' manual or a quick fix for tired preaching. It is, however, for those willing to be challenged to think about all dimensions of preaching — content, delivery, hermeneutics, and the relationship between preacher and listener — in a new and helpful way. . . . In an era when most preachers are struggling to find the appropriate medium for the timeless message of the Gospel and when many listeners are feeling increasingly 'distanced' from traditional practices of the church (including preaching), Michael Brothers offers us new and creative ways to proclaim the old, old story."
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