Henry H. Mitchell has completely revised and integrated his popular books The Recovery of Preaching and Black Preaching for seminarians and pastors--both Black and White---who are seeking to add power and vision to their sermons.
Mitchell persuasively demonstrates that Black culture and preaching style are vital for the empowerment of Black congregations and have much to offer the preaching method of all preachers. By focusing on the use of storytelling, imagination, and a style of preaching rooted in Black culture, Mitchell spotlights effective techniques for lively preaching. His chapter on Black English is an enduring yardstick for the continuing discussion.
"Professor Mitchell embellishes and updates his earlier works on the subject and reiterates its critical distinctiveness. The material is relived by numerous tales and anecdotes. Mitchell's own style offers the reader as much fun in reading as Dr. Mitchell obviously derives from writing. It is a good bargain for all concerned." --C. Eric Lincoln, Professor of Church History, Duke Divinity School, Durham, N.C.
HENRY H. MITCHELL is the author of the new volume Celebration and Experience in Preaching, Black Preaching, Black Belief, The Recovery of Preaching, and Soul Theology. He has taught at the School of Theology at Virginia Union University, Colgate Rochester Divinity School, and The Interdenominational Theological Center. He was the founder and director of the Ecumenical Center for Black Church Studies in Los Angeles.
"This book is a conflation of large parts of two books: Black Preaching, which was published in 1970, and The Recovery of Preaching, which was published in 1977. The former was an extension of three chapters from a masters thesis in linguistics. The latter was built on the Lyman Beecher Lectures delivered at Yale University in 1974. Both books dealt with preaching and culture, and both books enjoyed long and widespread usefulness, the former being kept in print for most of the past twenty years. Eventually, both books went out of print, which is the way of most books, for the corpus of wisdom is constantly changing.
"So both books became in some ways obsolete, but no other writers arose to replace them, and some of the material in both books was timeless and needed in classes and elsewhere. The vacuum in the range of Black preaching texts seemed to demand that the timeless part of each book be combined with the more recent developments and research in the field. This book is the result, but there is still much need for more work.
"Unlike the first edition of Black Preaching, this work has the advantage of data from twenty-five years of lectures and publications. The first edition was written at the very start of the groundswell for understanding Black culture. It was impossible to avoid a great deal of advocacy. Now some of the things for which we sought have been achieved in part. In fact, the prophesied increase in homiletical interchange between the two principal ethnic groups in the Protestant churches of America is already in rather full swing. And other issues have come to the fore, such as the issue of inclusive language. Much editing was required to remove noninclusive language, but who should be more sensitive to the need, or willing to do the necessary work? So this is a radically revised edition, to say the least.
"Writing this book was an unexpected pleasure, however, and very few people are ever blessed with such an opportunity to cull out and correct, after so many years. One pleasure I experienced after writing the first edition of Black Preaching that I hope will not be subject to change is the volume of response from mature preachers who reported the healing of their own self-esteem as practitioners of the Black tradition. All these years they had followed African American patterns with a kind of guilty conscience, or wistful wish that they could somehow measure "up" to the established standards. Now they know that their tradition is widely contributing to the standards respected by all, and they go back home to affirm themselves and their tradition, with new commitment to refine it on its own terms, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
"One word of advice to readers of whatever culture: The preaching samples are better heard than read. This is something I should have been aware of long ago. A group of doctoral students had to teach me this lesson just this year. One day they suddenly stopped my presentation to confirm that the material being rendered was already in the book manuscript I had shared with each of them. Of course it was! So what was the problem? Well, they had all read it, but it hardly seemed the same, and it certainly hadn't seemed that this same material was that full of power. On paper, it had done very little to arouse their interest. They resolved that from then on they would read samples out loud, or imagine that they were hearing them with the volume turned up." - Henry Mitchell (from the Preface)
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