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Preaching with Empathy in a Callous Culture

3 ways to develop empathic muscles in our preaching.

Preaching with Empathy in a Callous Culture
Image: Pearl/Lightstock

Editor’s Note: This article is adapted from Lenny Luchetti’s book Preaching with Empathy: Crafting Sermons in a Callous Culture(Abingdon Press, 2018). We would highly recommend reading his book to dive deeper into this topic of empathy and how it relates to preaching!

Extreme anger and apathy abound. The United States are currently not so united. We are divided along the boundary lines of politics, race, and economics. Misunderstanding, caricaturing, and stereotyping are norms in this allegedly advanced society. The good news is that what we preachers say and how we say it can offset this trend, assuming we preach with empathy in a callous culture.

Seminary taught many of us important skills for preaching. We were shown how to exegete a biblical text by probing the literary, historical, and theological contexts. Next in the curricular line-up was the art of rhetoric. Various linear and narrative sermon forms were critiqued or commended. Then we were thrown into a somewhat sterile ...

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