Imaginative Reading for Creative Preaching
July 7-18, 2008
Directed by Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
People often assume that preachers who read widely are on the prowl for illustrations. These people are right. Preachers are hunter-gatherers: they search not only the world’s literary masterworks, but also contemporary middle-brow fiction, crime journalism, and biography, hoping to dig up fresh and angular illustrations. But preachers are not merely in search of useful stories. Reading deepens the preacher’s knowledge of human cries of the heart—for example that we reap what we sow. In fact, the preacher’s reading deepens preaching because it deepens the preacher. The preacher who presumes to speak for God, or even for the church, has to struggle every day to understand human character, divine grace, and the surprises that gather at their intersection. To do so faithfully, most preachers will need the kind of vicarious experience that arises from immersion in well-chosen literature. Accordingly, this seminar will explore some of the sources, methods, and homiletical impact of imaginative reading for creative preaching.
Persons involved full-time in church ministries and those who prepare such persons for ministry are welcome to apply.
Cornelius Plantinga, Jr. is President and Charles W. Colson Professor of Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. This is his fifth consecutive year directing the seminar Imaginative Reading for Creative Preaching.