Conference theme and call for papers: PREACHING TOWARD TRUTH
Societas Homiletica 14th International Conference, Budapest, 7–12 August 2020
Conference theme and call for papers:
PREACHING TOWARD TRUTH
Preaching is driven by the quest for truth – and at the same time, this quest is contested in church, theology, and our societies. In a ‘post-truth era’ and in a fake-news world, it is a challenge to preach the good news of God’s truth and of Jesus who claims “I am the truth” (John 14:6). On the one hand, the longing for clarity may lead to reducing truth to all-too-easy propositional statements; on the other hand, the theological complexity of truth may lead to powerless sermons that have no impact on a world full of lies.
“What is truth?” (John 18:48) – Pilate’s question remains a spiritual, theological, and homiletical challenge. When Pilate posed the question, truth was standing in front of him. In Christ, truth is relational and dialogical. Accordingly, preaching toward truth is moving toward the acknowledgment of a reality external to our small lives and our global contexts. From a homiletical perspective, the following three questions among many others may be asked: (1) How do we preach if we accept that we do not possess truth but believe that truth is revealed in God’s active presence in the world and through God’s final coming? Theologically speaking, eschatology (the promise that the truth will be revealed) and economy (the facts of daily life and work) have to be brought in a critical relation to one another. (2) Who is the preacher, and what is her or his role when the church does not own truth and at the same time cannot be silent and has to proclaim truth? Humility and authenticity as well as boldness and the charisma of the preacher also need to be addressed. (3) How do we preach in a ‘post-truth era’, in which the grand – often oppressive – narratives are lost and yet there is a deep longing for stories to live in? How do we honor ‘facts’ and ‘emotions’ in our sermons? What language will help us to address these needs; poetical, metaphorical, referential, or mythical?
We face the challenge of preaching that opens up truth and moves toward truth. In Budapest we will have five days in August 2020 to work on these basic and relevant homiletical questions and to share our perspectives with colleagues from around the world.
Call for papers
As it is our regular practice, researchers, ph.d. students and teachers of preaching are encouraged to send in an abstract (300 words) for a paper presentation or workshop before February 29th 2020. Paper sessions consist of two or more 20 minute paper presentations each followed by 20 minutes of discussion.
Abstracts may be sent to the International Secretary of Societas Homiletica, Theo Pleizier at: firstname.lastname@example.org Within 3 weeks you will be notified as to whether your proposal has been accepted. First consideration is given to papers that clearly connect with the theme of the conference.
Further information about keynote speakers, program, registration etc. will follow soon.