As One Among Many Others: Affirming a Multitude of Embodied Preaching Practices
Valle-Ruiz, Lis E.
Although the field of homiletics has engaged performance studies as interdisciplinary partner to analyze preaching as a performance event, establish how sermons are always performance events, and how performance studies can help preachers produce sermons that more fully engage hearers, there is still space to use performance theory to analyze the theatricality of preaching as a live event that produces and transfers knowledge. Such analysis uncovers aspects of the preaching event typically occluded by existing approaches, making evident the ways in which preaching simultaneously assists and resists imperial ideologies and colonization. Drawing on the work of performance theorist Diana Taylor, in conversation with Homiletics and Ritual Studies, this study analyzes three embodied preaching practices: pulpit preaching through public speech, street preaching through symbolic action, and preaching through theater. I propose that these are three paradigms among many others, a repertoire of embodied preaching practices among which preachers may choose according to their personhood, community they address, time, place and purpose of the preaching event.