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The Ecology of Faith by Joseph Sittler

Theological education was prominent among the many interests of Lutheran scholar and theologian Joseph Sittler, who died on December 28, 1988. Following are some of his more provocative reflections on that subject, excerpted from his recent book, Gravity and Grace (Augsburg Publishing House), copyright 1986; reprinted by permission. This book was published by Muhlenberg Press, Philadelphia, 1961. It was prepared for Religion Online by Ted & Winnie Brock.

Even though the author lived and preached in a theological world radically different from that of his father, nevertheless his father’s preaching was of substantial influence.

Chapter 1: The Ecology of Faith, and The New Preaching Situation
This lecture is an effort to illuminate the present situation of preacher and parish by exploring the relational determinants suggested by the science of ecology.

Chapter 2: The Search For Theological Method, And Its Requirement Of Preaching
Further inquiry, and a suggestion how our practice in preaching may be changed by its occurrence.

Chapter 3: The Role Of The Imagination In Preaching
The tight sequences of Paul’s thought are not more characteristic than his amazing leaps; and in my own experiences as a preacher, the open space between the taking-off place and the landing place has been profoundly instructive.

Chapter 4: The Role Of The Imagination In Preaching
An effort to reflect upon and reenact the delicate process whereby the mind and the imagination move from the place of hearing to the public celebration of the thing heard.

Chapter 5: Maceration of the Minister
The articulation of a protest directed to the people in our parishes and for executive officials in our general bodies who alone can do anything about what I have called the "Maceration of the Minister."

Appendix: The Shape of the Church’s Response in Worship
The way Christians worship declares what they believe, but there is a wild and bewildering variety in the ways of worship by Christian people.

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