How to Preach a Parable: Designs for Narrative Sermons
Eugene L. Lowry
Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1989
My Rating: 8 out of 10
Quick Summary: This short, helpful book provides many insights from a seasoned scholar and preacher into Narrative Preaching. In my previous reviews (The Homiletical Plot; Living with the Lectionary), I mentioned that Dr. Eugene Lowry is an ordained United Methodist minister and retired professor of preaching. Having taught at Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City for over thirty years, his vita includes many scholarly books and articles on preaching, as well as various honors and lectureships.
In introducing his work, Lowry acknowledges two concerns: preachers tend to “shy away from” parables and believe that normal preachers cannot preach narrative sermons. The exact opposite of these is actually true (13). Section one covers the steps to narrative sermon formation such as: listening to the text, determining the focus of the text, finding the sermons “turn,” and deciding the sermon’s basic aim. He summarizes by saying, “Three major moments, then, or three major preparation tasks are fundamental to a sermon: focus, turn, and aim” (35). I guess that “fire” could be the final one? He also introduces the four basic sermon forms: running the story, delaying the story, suspending the story, and alternating the story.