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Title page for ETD etd-03272011-195232


Type of Document Dissertation
Author Voelz, Richard William
URN etd-03272011-195232
Title A Youthful Homiletic: A Practical Theological Examination of the Relationship Between Preaching and Adolescents
Degree PhD
Department Religion
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
John S. McClure Committee Chair
Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore Committee Member
Dale P. Andrews Committee Member
Ted A. Smith Committee Member
Keywords
  • youth
  • preaching
  • homiletics
  • critical youth studies
Date of Defense 2011-03-17
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
This dissertation seeks to strengthen the relationship between preaching and adolescents. I begin by narrating a critical homiletic history of adolescence in North America, showing how a once fruitful relationship deteriorated. I then examine the contemporary period through three related but non-conversant literatures: the homiletic guild which largely neglects youth, youth ministry literature on preaching which does not engage homiletic theory, and critical youth studies which does not address preaching. These preliminary surveys show how the contemporary homiletic disposition marginalizes the voices of young people. In this context, I propose a new theological and ethical disposition characterized by a dialectic between liberation and formation. The liberation of a “youthful homiletic” requires attentive listening to communicative practices of adolescents, which can offer correctives to preaching and to Christian faith/practice. The formation of a “youthful homiletic” requires adults to maintain a carefully focused interest in young people’s formation as theological communicators, grounded in prior listening. In order to put this disposition into practice, I develop a method of rhetorical analysis that listens to adolescents’ preaching and religious communication, and subsequently assess where they offer correction to adult assumptions and practices as well as where further formation might be warranted.
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