NAMING GRACE Preaching and the Sacramental Imagination by Mary Catherine Hilkert ($19.95)*

CONT: 0-8264-1060-X

While recognizing the great contribution that 20th century theology has made in describing the relation between God and humanity, Mary Catherine Hilkert concentrates her focus on the resources of the "sacramental imagination." This examination shifts the focus from the gap between the divine and the human and the sinfulness of humanity to the grace discovered in everyday life and the word of God entrusted to the entire community of faith.
Praise for Naming Grace:

"Scholarly and uplifting."- National Catholic Reporter

"A theological delight." - Commonweal

“…the single best book on the theology of preaching to appear in quite some time….everyone who preaches will be enriched by an encounter with this book….an intellectually stimulating tour of some recent conversations on the role of the Bible in the life of the church….Although Hilkert’s exposition of women’s voices in preaching is not the first attempt at helping us understand the unique gifts that women bring to the pulpit, it might very well be the best one to date….If you can only read one book on preaching and theology, read this one. It will challenge you intellectually and theologically, it will inspire you, it will renew your commitment to preaching, and in all likelihood it will make you a better preacher.” -Sewanee Theological Review

"Not only is Hilkert's work an important contribution to homiletics that will certainly be of interest to preachers from many traditions, but it is also an important contribution to narrative theory and narrative practice that will appeal to a much broader audience struggling in various ways to "hear each other into speech." The book is grounded in careful historical reflection on understandings of the power of the Word, particularly in Christian traditions, and insists that this power be understood not just rhetorically but also theologically. At every step along the way, Hilkert crosses boundaries that have been erected between "word" and "sacrament" ; between human stories and the story of Jesus; among biblical, liturgical, and doctrinal preaching. Drawing particularly on Paul Ricoeur's theory of narrative, feminist liberation theology, and political theology, as well as the theologies of Karl Rahner and Edward Schillebeeckx, Hilkert identifies preaching with "the sacramental imagination" --naming grief as well as grace a paradoxical proclamation of "God's abiding presence in a wounded world." - Steve Schroeder, Booklist "Rarely do I get excited over required texts for graduate studies. However, a notable exception is 'Naming Grace', a wonderful contribution to liturgical preaching in the Catholic tradition. The author captured my attention from the very first page of the Introduction: 'The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning.' Mary Catherine Hilkert's text should be required reading for anyone brave enough to venture into the world of preaching. Since I come from a Judeo/Christian background, I am especially appreciative of Dr. Hilkert's recognition of past failures amongst homilists who preached what amounted to 'replacement theology.' From a Catholic perspective, Dr. Hilkert has words of wisdom for both the novice and seasoned homilist. Even the community has a role to play: 'For both preachers and hearers of the word this means relocating the good news not in the text but in the community in dialogue with the text'(pg. 81). Dr. Hilkert writes with a wonderful combination of wit, intelligence and sensitivity. 'Naming Grace' should be purchased by anyone serious about the art of delivering a good homily. Having read many books in the course of my M.A. and M.Div studies at St. Bernard's Institute, I was truly delighted to come across the treasure I found in 'Naming Grace'" - Raymond Grosswirth

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