Preaching in Polarized Times

April 6, 2022 : 10:00 -11:30 am by Zoom

The reality of mass polarization in the US means that Americans increasingly conflate partisan loyalty with social identity. In other words, those who see social and political issues differently than I do are not just opponents, but enemies. Most of us are aware that the church is not immune from these dynamics. Many Christians either gather to worship only with like-minded others or we never talk about politics at church for fear that division will result. Yet preachers are called to bring the gospel to bear on social and political issues, even in these polarized times. This workshop will consider how polarization malforms preachers and hearers, and explore ways we might disrupt its dehumanizing force, drawing on biblical and theological resources that remind us of our truest identity in Christ.

Facilitator: The Rev. Dr. Angela Dienhart Hancock

The Rev. Dr. Angela Dienhart Hancock is associate professor of homiletics and worship at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. She is the author of Karl Barth’s Emergency Homiletic, 1932–33: A Summons to Prophetic Witness at the Dawn of the Third Reich, a contextual interpretation of Barth’s lectures on preaching in the early 1930s, based on unpublished archival material. She is an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and has served as pastor to churches in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

Hancock earned her bachelor’s degree in music from Indiana University, Bloomington, and her M.Div. and Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary. Her current research assesses the potential contribution of Barth’s thought to the vitality of democratic practices in the United States today, with particular attention to the relationship between political and theological rhetoric and the ethics of deliberation in Christian communities.

Register Here

This workshop is part of a monthly workshop series on preaching, the first Wednesday of every month from 10:00 to 11:30 am. For an overview of the series, click here.