Preaching Parables to Postmoderns

Preaching Parables to Postmoderns

Preaching Parables to Postmoderns

Preaching Parables to Postmoderns


Stiller argues that Jesus' parables, through their narrative, personal, and oral dimensions and reversal of expectations, provide unique access to Christianity for those whose experience and hopes we label "postmodern." Aligning contemporary scholarship with today's cultural assumptions, Stiller offers preachers a working knowledge of postmodern sensibilities, an understanding of the parable genre, an analysis of ten parables, and a sample of how one might preach them effectively.


Preachers, in their call to preach the scriptures, are not only charged with the responsibility of speaking its truth but of speaking in such a way that people of this age and culture understand. To do this, the preacher builds a bridge between today’s people and the gospel of both testaments. For some, this task is more difficult than for others. Preaching to those living in an inner-city housing project is far removed from an outpost mission in the two-thirds world. Each community has its own way of thinking and attaches different values to symbols of its own making.

For those called to preach to a generation raised on mtv and latenight comedians or those rooted in various economic cultures—from government-sponsored jobs overseen by union bosses to entreÚ preneurial dot-com companies—or generations stretching from high school students to “freedom fifty-fivers,” the task is enormous. When one adds to that the complexity of a radical shift in underÚ lying intellectual and cultural assumptions, the task of preaching becomes even more complicated.

Although we believe that the Word by its nature is powerful in reshaping lives, we still wonder how we can meet the multiple needs of a highly pluralistic and diverse people, some of whom have been raised on Bible stories and others who cannot tell a biblical saying from an honored maxim. No longer is biblical literacy to be assumed. No longer can it be taken for granted that those who attend worship accept basic theological affirmations. It is to this mixed crowd that a preacher comes weekly.

Therefore, one of the most significant questions that preachers ask in this changing and radically secular age is, How are people to . . .

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