"Come with open minds and prayerful hearts, and we will learn and laugh and be inspired to practice the high art of preaching with renewed faith, intelligence, and gusto," says Reinhardt seminar leader Dr. Robert M. Franklin Jr. He will be the featured speaker at "Preaching for Results," a continuing education program sponsored by the Reinhardt College Ministerial Association, on March 2, 2006, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ministers of all denominations are invited to the program at the Falany Performing Arts Center on the campus of Reinhardt College in Waleska, Ga. The $35 registration fee includes a boxed lunch.
In addition to addressing how today's culture has complicated the ancient art of preaching, Franklin will share ideas on how ministers can best respond, how they can help people "see the gospel in Technicolor."
"In earlier times, people knew how to sit and listen," he said. "My parents grew up listening to the radio. Most of our parents listened and exercised the power of imagination. Today, modern technology has shortened our attention spans and suppressed our imaginations with eye-bulging special effects. In response, we don't have to become entertainers, but we do need to be more engaging."
As one of the most poignant voices in theological education, Franklin is the presidential distinguished professor of social ethics at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, Ga.,. He has taught at his alma maters, the University of Chicago and Harvard divinity schools. As director of Black church studies at Colgate-Rochester Divinity School and at the Candler School of Theology, he became nationally known. A former president of the Interdenominational Theological Center and a former program director with the Ford Foundation, he is the current president of the Regional Council of Churches and has provided leadership for Atlanta's ecumenical response to Katrina evacuees. He has also advised the White House on religious, racial, public health and community development issues and has given guest commentary on religion for CNN and NPR. His third book is due out this year.
Franklin expects to use references from Martin Luther King, Jr., Reinhold Niebuhr, and the great Scottish preacher James Stewart. Participants "may even hear about a few non-preaching examples of great storytellers like Garrison Keillor and Maya Angelou," he said.
Franklin has had a longstanding interest in the art of preaching, he said. "I had the benefit of studying with Dr. Gardner C. Taylor, one of the great preachers of the modern era," he said. "At Candler, I have been blessed to be surrounded by the nation's most impressive collection of preaching experts. I have learned a great deal from colleagues Fred Craddock, Tom Long, Teresa Fry Brown, Ted Hackett, Gail O'Day and others. I like to combine the art of preaching with the content of a socially prophetic gospel."
His ultimate model is Jesus of Nazareth. "Jesus was a master story teller," he said. "He knew how to reach into people's lives with the power of a good tale. In the Bible, you can almost see his audiences lean forward as he wove the intricate details of the parables. Then, in the midst of a great story, he introduced them to a new moral outlook, a new way of ordering their lives. That is why preaching and ethics must always be tag-team partners."
He is also interested in helping churches learn from each other"s similarities and differences. "Every culture has its own unique way of bearing witness to the truth. African Americans have seen and experienced the Christian story in some distinctive ways. Our ways of expressing what we have seen, known, and believed is somewhat different. But, the vast terrain of the human spirit is common ground, indeed, universal ground. We all know something about hardship and suffering. We all know something about sacrifice and working together to achieve great things. So, our preaching can never be altogether different, for we have been embraced and loved and accepted by a single Lord. My faith and hope is that black preaching can enrich other preaching traditions, and it can also learn from the preaching traditions of our neighbors and fellow believers. We have gifts to offer to each other, and God is waiting for us to get on with it."
Advanced registration is encouraged.
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