Syllabus
Narrative Sermons
TH 661C‑20
Waterloo Lutheran Seminary
Fall Term
Class Sessions: Four Fridays, 9 AM – 4:30 PM

 

Prof. David Schnasa Jacobsen
Phone:  884‑1970 ext. 3493
E‑mail:  djacobse@wlu.ca
Office Hours: when my door is open or by appointment

 

Learning Goals:
This course is designed to explore the many options available to the preacher who is interested in narrative.  It is, for the most part, seminar in format.  Therefore, students will want to develop a clear idea of their own learning goals for this course.  Your professor is more than happy to meet with you individually to help you find the resources that will meet your goals.

 

The only requirement framing these goals will be that students also take time to integrate their work in narrative homiletics theologically.  Narrative theologies take numerous forms and provoke very different kinds of questions for preachers and theologians alike.  Students are encouraged to go beyond matters of method and technique to ask important theological questions about narrative as it relates to preaching, scripture, theological anthropology, Christology, etc.  Opportunity for such reflection will happen both in the presentations, and in a final response paper to Campbell's book.

 

Students with disabilities or special needs are advised to contact Laurier's Special Needs Office for information regarding its services and resources. Students are encouraged to review the Calendar for information regarding all services available on campus.

 

Wilfrid Laurier University uses software that can check for plagiarism. Students may be required to submit their written work in electronic form and have it checked for plagiarism.

 

Required Texts:
Campbell, Charles.  Preaching Jesus.  Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans, 1997.
Robinson, Wayne, ed. Journeys Toward Narrative Preaching  (Cleveland: Pilgrim, 1990).

 

Optional Texts (for student presentations, choose 1of these books by Session 2):

Ellingsen, Mark.  The Integrity of Biblical Narrative (Minneapolis: AugsburgFortress, 1990).

Lowry, Eugene.  The Homiletical Plot (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1980).

Mitchell, Henry.  Celebration and Experience in Preaching (Nashville: Abingdon, 1990).

Rice, Charles (et al.).  Preaching the Story (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1980). On reserve only

 

All of the above optional books are also available on reserve at the library reserve desk.  Lowry and Mitchell should be available for purchase at Sperling’s.  Students will likely also wish to consult other books by these authors, most of which are available in the library stacks.


SCHEDULE

 

 

Session1      Introductions, Syllabus, and Scheduling

19/9             Lecture:  "A Primer in Narrative, Narrative Theory and Narrative Theology"
Read Sermon from Robinson and Respond

                    Lunch

                    Read remaining sermons from Robinson and respond

                    Lecture:  "A Brief Survey of Options in Narrative Homiletics"

                    Make Presentation Assignments

 

 

Session 2     Presentation:  Henry Mitchell (narrative and character identification)

26/9             Presentation:  Eugene Lowry (narrative and sermonic plot)

                    Presentation:  Mark Ellingsen (narrative and world incorporation)

                    Lunch

                    Presentation: Charles Rice (narrative as meeting of story worlds)

                    Debriefing of first set of assignments

                    Student questions about narrative and narrative preaching

 

 

Session 3     Presenter: _______________        Figure/Idea:  _________________

10/10           Presenter: _______________        Figure/Idea:  _________________

                    Lunch

                    Presenter: _______________        Figure/Idea:  _________________

                    Presenter: _______________        Figure/Idea:  _________________

For next class:  Begin reading Preaching Jesus for discussion in next class.

 

 

Session 4     Discussion of Campbell's book

17/10           Lecture: Issues in theology and narrative preaching

                    Hand in First Draft of Assignment 3 to discuss in class, bring copies

                    Lunch

                    Draft discussions, cont.

                    Evaluation                   

 

 

FINAL VERSION OF ASSIGNMENT 3 DUE TO PROF BY 31/10/08


Assignments:

 

Assignment 1: Assigned Presentation (first hour) and Sermon (second hour)
With this first presentation and sermon students will be presenting the narrative homiletical method of one of four seminal figures in the field.  Students will be responsible for giving within that first‑hour presentation:
(1) a thirty‑minute summary on the person's narrative homiletic, and
(2) a ten‑minute theological analysis of their perspective, with
(3) a ten‑minute period for questions.
Presenters will need to bring photocopies of their notes and bibliography to share with classmates.  Sermon manuscripts for the second hour of that class period are to be handed in to your professor the day before you preach (that means Thursday, September 25, by 1 PM!).  The sermon will be graded in light of some of the criteria that your figure (whether Lowry, Mitchell, Ellingson, or Rice) establishes.  Above all, however, each sermon will be graded by how well hearers hear the Gospel through it.  Therefore, we will also take thirty minutes after each sermon in class for classmates to respond.
Date Due: Thursday, 1 PM the day before Session 2--Grade:  30% of total

 

Assignment 2: Self-Selected Presentation (first hour) and Sermon (second hour)
With this presentation and sermon students will be responsible for presenting the narrative homiletical method of one of the figures in the field or of your own development.  Students will be responsible for giving within that first-hour session:
(1) a thirty‑minute summary on the person's narrative homiletic or a proposed method, and
(2) a ten‑minute theological analysis of that perspective, with
(3) a ten‑minute period for questions.
Once again, presenters will need to bring photocopies of their notes and any bibliography to share with classmates.  Sermon manuscripts for the second-hour session are to be handed in to your professor the day before you preach (that means Thursday, October 9 by 1 PM!).  The sermon will be graded in light of some of the criteria that your figure or you yourself establish.  Above all, however, each sermon will be graded by how well hearers hear the Gospel through it.  Therefore, we will also take thirty minutes after each sermon for in class response.
Date Due: Thursday, 1 PM the day before Session 3--Grade:  50% of total

 

Some suggestions for Assignment 2 presentations:
Richard Jensen, Telling the Story
Thomas Boomershine, Story Journey
John Holbert, Preaching Old Testament:  Proclamation and Narrative in the HB
Ed Riegert, Imaginative Shock: Preaching and Metaphor

Christine Smith, Weaving the Sermon:  Preaching in a Feminist Perspective
Fred Craddock, As One without Authority and Preaching
Frederick Buechner, Telling the Truth:  The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale
Richard Thulin, The "I" of the Sermon
Tom Long, Preaching the Literary Forms of the Bible

 

 


Or you may want to explore resources for other kinds of "mobile" sermon forms:
Daniel Buttrey’s 1st Person Dramatic Sermons
Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza's "Creative Actualization" (see In Memory of Her)
or other ideas with the approval of the professor.

 

Assignment 3:  Book Review and Constructive Response (4 pp.)
Write a two page book review of Charles Campbell's Preaching  Jesus  together with a two page constructive response featuring your own emerging position on narrative preaching.  The book review should include (1) a summary of Campbell's work, (2) some critical engagement and (3) an evaluation or critical appreciation of his contribution to understanding preaching in relation to narrative.  Don't sweat it.  With reviews, brief is good.  With the response portion, also two pages, begin to sketch your own understanding of narrative preaching theologically.  How does your understanding of narrative preaching relate to such theological issues as:  your doctrine of scripture, your understanding of the Gospel, your Christology, your theological anthropology, etc?  Try to view this as a synthetic approach to the theological issues we have explored relative to narrative preaching this term.
Date Due: First Draft at Session 4 (October 17)

                    Final Version October 31

                    Grade:  20% of total

 

Grading:
Fear not.  The grading system is designed to maximize the possibilities for growth in learning.  Really.

 

30% of the grade will be for your presentation and sermon on one of our first narrative homileticians.  Students will receive their grade in the following formula:  10% presentation, 20% sermon.  Students who receive high grades for this and the other presentation(s) and sermon(s) will receive a high final grade.  Students who also demonstrate a clear improvement in their work by the end of the semester will also be eligible for a higher final grade.

 

The next 50% of the grade will be for an individual presentation and narrative sermon.  The upshot is that students should try their best and improve.  A bad grade for any one sermon is not a death sentence.  What is our motto?:  "per fidem ambulamus. "  So walk by faith and don't worry so much.

 

If, despite all this, you are still worried about your grade, please contact your instructor for extra credit options, or, if you wish to take the course for more than two hours' credit. 

 

Nonetheless, I must offer one caveat.  Since beginning pastors almost always have to produce weekly sermons regardless of circumstances, late sermon manuscripts will result in an automatic reduction of grade by one letter and missed presentations will result in a grade of F.

 

M.Th. and doctoral students taking this elective course will be expected to perform at a higher level and may be asked to complete extra work. Attendance at extra discussions for advanced students may also be required.