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Preaching and the Theological Imagination

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Edited By Zachary Guiliano and Cameron Partridge

In an era in which The Episcopal Church and the Church of England have become increasingly alarmed about numerical decline, Christian proclamation has become more important than ever. To fully meet this challenge, Anglicans must reclaim a vocation to preach the good news with both deep theological grounding and imaginative dynamism. Crucial to this process is a sustained engagement with deepening the theological imagination of the whole Christian community, through renewed practices of, and approaches to, preaching, study, and spiritual development.
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Introduction: Preaching and the Theological Imagination

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Zachary Guiliano and Cameron E. Partridge

IN AN era of debate and anxiety about numerical decline in the Episcopal Church and the Church of England, Christian proclamation has become more important than ever. As recent studies reveal, a major challenge attending proclamation is to reach not only those who may have left but, particularly among young adults, to reach those who have never considered darkening ecclesial doors.1 At the same time, a key concern of those who seek out our churches is that we are “clear about our tradition,” that we practice a vital and dynamic, deeply rooted theological “core.”2 When such newcomers darken our doors, they expect a there to be there. They long to encounter a community that knows who and whose it is, a community that shares its theological core, the good news itself, with unabashed authenticity.

To fully meet this challenge, we believe that Anglicans must claim a vocation to preach the good news with both deep theological grounding and imaginative dynamism. Along the way, we must overcome a history of not being known for, nor of fully claiming, our public voice as preachers. It may not be possible to identify “such a generic thing as ‘Anglican preaching’,”3 and our proclamation may have a reputation in some quarters of being “boring, unenthusiastic, pedantic and uninspired.”4 We must face the unfortunate fact, as ← 1 | 2 → Linda Clader argues, that we have indeed “baffled people” with “how indirectly we...

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