Preaching IN and TO a Post-Modern World | Dr. Josh Genig, Ph.D. | HPR
Indeed, preaching must be improved. However, before preaching can be improved, one must first be aware of the cultural context in which one lives today.
Over the past few years, a staggering reality has surfaced: many individuals leaving the Church are doing so because of the quality of the preaching. 1 This indicates, at least in part, the impetus for the rare words of chastisement from Pope Benedict XVI in his post-synodical apostolic exhortation, Verbum Domini:
In the Apostolic Exhortation, Sacramentum Caritatis, I pointed out that “given the importance of the word of God, the quality of homilies needs to be improved. ….” … Generic and abstract homilies which obscure the directness of God’s word should be avoided, as well as useless digressions which risk drawing greater attention to the preacher than to the heart of the Gospel message. The faithful should be able to perceive clearly that the preacher has a compelling desire to present Christ, who must stand at the center of every homily. 2
Indeed, preaching must be improved. However, before preaching can be improved, one must first be aware of the cultural context in which one lives today. What are its characteristics? What are its needs? And how can the one entrusted with the task of preaching (ordinarily the priest and deacon) better engage those living within that particular cultural milieu?
I will attempt to address the foregoing questions in what lies below. However, once our cultural context has been established (as best as is able), it will be important to recall the homiletic of the recent past before forging ahead with a proposed homiletic for this post-modern world. With that former homiletic in mind, I will then examine the troubles associated with such an approach, particularly in light of the post-modern world we are attempting to evangelize with the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Finally, and most important of all, I will attempt to demonstrate how preaching can and should be improved in order to meet more adequately the spiritual needs of a post-modern world that is dying to live.The World Today
If you take a long look around, what do you see? What is it that defines our culture? What motivates our young people? What brings us satisfaction?
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