Ingenuity

Preaching as an Outsider

By Lisa L.Thompson Published
Paperback image ISBN: 9781501832598 $29.99 Buy
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Learn from the wit, wisdom, and creative power of black women who preach.

Ingenuity introduces a theology and practice of preaching that emerges from the faith and wisdom of black women. Preaching has been resourced and taught from a narrow field of cultural or gendered experiences, historically. Without much support from established channels, black women are left to “figure it out” on their own, and others discern how to preach from a limiting scope.

The best preachers understand their own voices and the voices of others. They stretch and grow, and this enables them to preach more effectively. Ingenuity equips readers to negotiate tradition, life experiences, and theological conviction in the creative work that makes way for sacred speech.

With Ingenuity, Lisa Thompson offers deep insights for anyone seeking to enlarge their understanding, their language, and their sense of lived experiences, and offers practical help through “In Practice” segments for those who preach.

"Written from the deep well of the spirituality of Black women, Thompson has given us a remarkable guide for what preaching should be and must be for the times we are in.  Accessible, thoughtful, probing, pastoral, prophetic—all come together in this text.  A must read for anyone committed to faithful excellence in proclaiming the word." -Emilie M. Townes, Dean and  E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society, Vanderbilt University Divinity School

About the Author

Lisa L.Thompson

Lisa L. Thompson, a native of Cedar Grove, NC, is an ordained Baptist minister and has served in university and parish ministry settings. She majored in both psychology and communication studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and worked in case management before pursuing the study of theology and religion fulltime. 

Dr. Thompson holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and a Master of Arts (MA) in Religion from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Divinity (MDiv) from Fuller Theological Seminary. She is the Assistant Professor of Homiletics at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. She previously held posts as the Assistant Professor of Homiletics at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and as a Lilly Faculty Fellow at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois. 

Thompson’s publications include “Disruptive and Generative Preaching Practices” in Practical Matters Journal, and “In Search of our Mothers’ Healings: Holistic Wellbeing, Black Women, and Preaching” in Homiletic, The Journal for the Academy of Homiletics. Her forthcoming books are entitled Ingenuity and Preaching the Headlines. Ingenuity explores the ways in which black women navigate matters of voice in preaching, while often in the presence of cultural histories and contexts that deny their abilities to construct meaning on behalf of a community; the volume mines the preaching practices of black women for the sake of re-thinking theologies and methods of preaching as whole. Preaching the Headlines engages the intersection between social and religious discourses for the purposes of helping communities reflect on and engage everyday issues in life as matters of faith.

Dr. Thompson’s research and teaching are connected— as they consider the roles of rhetoric, culture, ethics, and ritual in theological communication. Some of her courses include “Gender, Power and the Pulpit,” “Preaching the Headlines,” “Voice Imagination, and Sacred Utterances,” “Womanist Proclamation and the Arts,” and “Proclamation and the Black Experience.” She has been the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Religion and Theology, the Fund for Theological Education, and the Lilly Endowment, Inc. funded Program of Theology and Practice at Vanderbilt University. She is the current president of the Black Caucus of the Academy of Homiletics.

Thompson’s primary interests in service, teaching, and scholarship are the ways in which our religious discourses and practices have the ability to influence daily life on both communal and individual levels. As history has proved, these influences can be for the uplifting or destruction of life together. She espouses holding concerns for the flourishing of God’s entire creation alongside intellectual rigor and respect for sacred traditions and texts.

“Our lives are the texture of the texts we preach.” – Lisa L. Thompson