The Politics of Preaching

Yesterday I received the electronic issue of Didaskalia‘s forthcoming issue on the theme of political theology.  From scanning the table of contents, it looks like it could be quite an interesting issue.  It includes engagements by established and emerging Canadian theologians with Žižek, Barth, Bonhoeffer, Cavanaugh, and Newbigin, among others.  Appearing in the issue is my essay, “Unapologetically (A)Political: Stanley Hauerwas and the Practice of Preaching.”  Rather than summarize my own work, here’s how the editor of the issue, H.C. Hillier, introduces my essay in his preface to the issue:

“Robert Dean (ThD, Toronto), an instructor at Tyndale Seminary, argues that one can better understand the renowned American theologian Stanley Hauerwas’s theology of preaching by placing it within his wider political theology. Contrary to other examples of political preaching today, such as apologetics confined by the rules of modernity or politicking for a particular party/person, Dean argues that Hauerwas understands both the church and the act of preaching to be political in nature. Dean shows how Hauerwas’s theology liberates today’s preachers from the power of modern subjectivity (i.e., preaching to be relevant to congregations and/or preaching from the preacher’s own subjectivity). For Hauerwas, preaching is tied to Scripture, not the preacher or parish; and the preacher’s job is to show how the world is transformed by the gospel, not to make the gospel relevant to the world. Additionally preaching liberates the preacher from being bound to modern emotivism and academic biblical criticism. Only within the political community of the church does Scripture become holy and comprehensible.”

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