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In this final installment from the long-running and celebrated Conference on Preaching book series, an energetic group of scholars join together across ethnic and theological divides to consider one lasting question: "What is a life well-lived in the world that Wisdom fashions?"
For over a decade, the Conference on Preaching has generated conversation among evangelicals, postliberals, and mainline Protestants by bringing together well-known biblical scholars and homileticians across the theological spectrum. In PREACHING CHARACTER, editors Dave Bland and David Fleer turn to the papers from the October 2009 conference on preaching and wisdom.
Wisdom is fundamentally about the formation and transformation of character, they write. When God created the world, God breathed wisdom into its essence; the world operates by wisdom. Thus wisdom is essential to living responsibly in this world. It is by wisdom that God empowers humans to negotiate the complexities of life. And it is by wisdom that we deepen our relationship with God and with others.
Believing that the task of preaching biblical wisdom is about shaping the character of the faith community and its individual members, the contributors to this book seek to echo wisdom's call to embark on a fascinating and often unpredictable adventure. Intrigue, disappointment, joy, suffering, conflict, dialogue, and satisfaction fill the journey. Wisdom offers no guarantees along the way regarding rewards or financial security or physical well-being. But the journey with wisdom does guarantee the kind of character that enables individuals to live responsibly in community, reflecting the very nature of the God they serve.
Dave Bland is professor of preaching at Harding University Graduate School of Religion in Memphis, Tennessee, where he has taught for seventeen years and where he directs the doctor of ministry program. He serves as a section editor for the journal Homiletic. For the past eleven years, Dave has co-edited with David Fleer a series on preaching, published by ACU Press and Chalice Press. One of his academic fields of interest is wisdom literature, and he has written a commentary on Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs in the College Press NIV Commentary series. Dave also serves as one of the preaching ministers at the Church of Christ at White Station in Memphis. He and his wife, Nancy, have three grown sons.
David Fleer is professor of Bible and communication and special assistant to the president at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. His teaching focus is homiletics and for twelve years he has directed the Sermon Seminar at Rochester College and Lipscomb's Conference on Preaching, which annually draws attendees from more than thirty states and provinces and a variety of Christian fellowships. From 1995 to 2007, Fleer was professor of religion and communication at Rochester College, named Teacher of the Year (1996-1997) and Most Influential Professor (2003-2004) by his peers and students. During the last calendar year he preached for churches in thirty different communities and he regularly presents at conferences, seminars, and lectureships in the Churches of Christ. He and his wife, Mae, have been married thirty-five years and have three sons.