They're preachers in the present tense
Ministers ought to proclaim how God is at work in the world today, says one pastor, who will speak at Eckerd College.
By WAVENEY ANN MOORE
Published March 5, 2006
ST. PETERSBURG - Two of America's top preachers will visit the Tampa Bay area this week.
Barbara Brown Taylor and Thomas G. Long will help fellow pastors hone their preaching skills during a three-day workshop that starts this evening. They will share their message of compassion at a public lecture Monday.
"We're really working on compassion and reconciliation as a major theme," Long said during a telephone conversation Friday. "We live in a world today where religion is right at the center of the world's conflicts, large and small."
The preachers' appearance is part of a program organized by Eckerd College's Center for Spiritual Life.
The Rev. Richard I. Deibert, director of the center, said there was one main reason why the two were invited to the campus.
"I think the first and foremost is their common conviction that God speaks through human speech. Because they share that conviction, they have become artists of the human word," Deibert said. "They work hard, both of them, on the task of preaching. They take it very seriously."
Brown Taylor is an Episcopal priest who spent 15 years in parish ministry. She teaches religion at Piedmont College in Georgia.
Long, an ordained Presbyterian minister, is a professor of homiletics, or the art of preaching, at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta.
"Preaching is like the town crier telling news," he said, adding that many things bring energy and interest to preaching. He teaches pastors that they are preaching "in the present tense and that God is at work in the world today and that preachers should announce that," he said.
The workshop will use biblical text to focus on learning how to love in conflict and how to love "the stranger."
Long said many people don't understand the concept of extending hospitality to a stranger. They think it is learning to like someone similar to themselves, he said.
During Monday night's lecture, the two professors will talk about how worship can generate compassion in churches and in the world. A question-and-answer period will follow.
IF YOU GO
"The Ministries of Compassion," a workshop by Barbara Brown Taylor and Thomas G. Long, 6:30 p.m. today through Tuesday. Public lecture, "Compassion as a Way of Life," 7:30 p.m. Monday, Fox Hall, Eckerd College, 4200 54th Ave. S, St. Petersburg.
[Last modified March 5, 2006, 00:52:12]
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