Theological Research and Preaching Project

This being an upper-division survey in theology, arrive at an awareness of a need among your audience (which consists of Westmont students, faculty, and staff, including you) that you can characterize as 'theological' and that you can address through preaching (or, with my approval, some other response). Take the following steps:

Part I: Research

Develop your understanding of that need through our course materials, particularly Kapic/McCormack and Tennent.

Articulate your understanding of that need in theological language.

Prayerfully consider biblical texts that seem promising for supplying that need. Develop a short list of 3-4 such texts. Annotate that list with observations on how each one seems to hold promise.

Through our course materials, materials from other courses, biblical and theological reference works, and other resources, develop your understanding of both the need you have sensed and the texts you have chosen. At this stage, things may change – perhaps your list of texts, or perhaps your sense of the need you are addressing.

When your grasp of these things is well developed, write and submit a two-page 'proposal' stating what you intend to do in your sermon. You will develop and deliver your sermon after it is reviewed.

Part II: Preaching

Preach it! Write either an outline or a formal text for delivery. Then deliver it at the time and place we arrange. Your written outline or text will be submitted when you turn in your reflection, below.

Part III: Reflection

You may revise your project and sermon after the fact, and you will submit a 2-page theological reflection on the process, as your final. Answer this question:

Sound 'theological judgment' is one of the three outcomes that the Religious Studies department has chosen for our major. (We even have a rubric for gauging your soundness.) First, describe the role that theological judgment played in your preaching project. Don't just pull that term out of thin air; use the insights of our course texts to help inform your appreciation of the significance of theological judgment (say, McIntosh's description of theology as 'divine teaching', Athanasius' treatment of the Word bringing sensibility to the world, Jacob's treatment of original sin's effects on our judgment, and so on).

Second, in light of the project and the course as a whole, evaluate (positively and/or negatively) the wisdom of the department's emphases and standards.

These are due at the scheduled time for the final exam. Peer review is optional, to be done informally beforehand.

Remember, as always, I want to see proper style, clear writing, a thorough answer to the question, and explicit citations of course materials.

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