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Preaching to Multiethnic Congregation

Positive Marginality as a Homiletical Paradigm

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Woosung Calvin Choi

The impact of globalization is widespread, affecting every sector of society, and the Church is not immune from such influence. Churches are awakening to diversifying pews and finding it difficult to insist on strict homogeneity. This shift in congregational composition has raised homiletical challenges for preachers who need to learn to effectively minister the Word in culturally diverse situations. This book offers multiethnic congregations a homiletical paradigm under the title «positive marginality». The paradigm includes the five principles of positive marginality: Embrace, Engage, Establish, Embody, and Exhibit. This paradigm is measured against seven preachers currently preaching in multiethnic churches in six different countries. These preachers offer valuable insights and suggest a positive correlation between the proposed paradigm and the homiletical practice of the preachers in multiethnic congregations. This book will serve well for pastors, preaching professors, seminary students, and seasoned preachers alike.
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Chapter 4. Positive Marginality as a Homiletical Paradigm

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Positive Marginality as a Homiletical Paradigm

The question of how the preacher can effectively minister the Word in culturally diverse situations is critical and challenging. Such a challenge, however, also provides an exciting opportunity to reflect on the preaching of the gospel in an age of globalization. Callen recognizes this opportunity, and writes: “Today’s multicultural settings, usually discordant, can be transformed by the harmonizing gospel so that diversity becomes a rich melody that witnesses to the God who comes to make all things new and all disciples one.”1 While Callen’s positive outlook is encouraging, it remains a challenge for preachers who are in multicultural contexts to transform that discordant diversity into a unifying accord.

Where does that learning begin? Not in the pulpit or in the study but it begins with the preacher’s perception, attitude and interactions with others in a multiethnic context. For this reason, the positive marginality paradigm is concerned with not only the design of a sermon but also the formation of preachers in a multiethnic context. Many homiletical paradigms focus primarily on the methodology of the sermon-building process. Without compromising the importance of sermonic methodology, this paradigm places equal emphasis on the formation of the preachers, namely, the positive marginal formation of preachers within a multiethnic congregation. Recognizing these five characteristics—Embrace, Engage, Establish, Embody and Exhibit—is important because they provide a homiletical ← 37 | 38 → framework as to how they relate to the formation of...

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