Author Liz Shercliff
Publisher SCM £16.99
An ambitious book – asserting that (and why) women preachers need to find their voices as women, and how to go about it. It also includes a chapter on hermeneutics, one on hearing Bible women, a method of how to construct a sermon, sermon excerpts and questions for reflection, all in 168 pages. Much of it, e.g. the contention that women preachers are heard differently by virtue of their gender, and its implications, I found convincing; we do need a book (or more) on women preachers. Some of it, e.g. the chapter on hermeneutics, read like lecture notes. I tried the ‘method’ described in the penultimate chapter, which takes as sermon sources an awareness of experience, position, culture and tradition, and it led to a useful gathering of the building blocks of my sermon. I share some of the author’s experiences of patriarchy but not others, and to get the most out of the book, it might best be read and discussed by a group of women preachers, with maybe even a man present? I dislike the cover: lots of different smiling young women and not one grey hair, which is a form of sexism in itself.
Wrestling with The Word
Authors Kate Bruce and Jamie Harrison
Publisher SPCK £12.99
A book written for Readers by Readers which neatly summarises our preaching responsibility in two tasks: One – put into words what people know in their hearts; Two – put into words what God feels in his heart. So, no pressure then!
There are many books on preaching from all manner of angles and approaches, almost to the extent of Ecc 12:12: ‘Of making many books there is no end’ But this one is a bit different. It reproduces 15 sermons by noted preachers, followed by helpful critiques that highlight how they dealt with elements within passages deemed ‘notoriously difficult.’ These include Matt 27:51-28:8, Judges 11:28-40 and Dan 5:1-31. Accessible in style, practical in approach, not swamped by homiletic terminology, this is a refreshing and encouraging book to have to hand whenever you are preparing your next sermon.