Note: Though these topics are suggested by non-Catholic authors, they provide springboards of opportunity for Catholic preachers [within Eucharistic homilies or in other Catholic settings] to build and convey the fullness of our tradition while inviting individuals to initial stages of conversion, discipleship, or inspiring curiosity.
List of Topics, Idea Prompts, Suggestions, Etc.
From Paul Johns in The Future of Preaching (Geoffrey Stevenson, Editor)
Theology of institutional power: “governments and corporations—provide much of our news now. A theology ‘the powers’ understands them to be both spiritual and material” (p. 106)
Popular culture: “the need is not for a theology that stuffily dismisses popular culture as inherently opposed to Christ, nor for one that trendily embraces it, determined to find something of Christ in everything. The need is for a theology of critical engagement…This is one that acknowledges in cultural life a deep ambiguity (p. 107)
Dislocation: “the reality we thought we knew and within which we felt secure changes, and seems to leave us stranded. It may be sudden, like a natural disaster, or the crash of a bank, or the announcement of massive redundancy [layoffs]. It may be gradual like the process of global warming, or the slow but nonetheless troubling transformation of a monocultural neighborurhood into a multicultural one. It is the experience of familiar landmarks disappearing, reality as I have known it changing and pitching me into uncertainty” (p. 107-108)
From Larry Moyer’s Show Me How to Preach Evangelistic Sermons (p. 69-73, 81-87)
- Book of John
- Passages that answers specific questions non-Christians are asking
- Passages that answer provocative questions of interest to non-Christians (i.e. How many of the 10 Commandments do we have to keep to get to heaven?)
- Select passages that deal with objections non-Christians have 87
- Family, money, loneliness, peace of mind, living after divorce/hurt, coping with pain disappointment, living a purposeful life, etc.
- Responses when confronted with a crisis or emergency that attracts local or national attention
- Response to a moral issue
- Aspects of popular understandings of Christianity (i.e. movies like The Passion of Christ or The Da Vinci Code)
From Ramesh Richard’s Preparing Evangelistic Sermons: A Seven-Step Method for Preaching Salvation
Universal spiritual needs that lend themselves to audience-driven development: forgiveness, peace, stability, hope, afterlife, love, survival, wisdom, purpose, spiritual quest, demonic oppression and supernatural evil forces (p. 140-141)
Intellectual questions: What is the nature and existence of truth? Does God exist? What is the nature of God? What about the problem of evil? Is religion efficacious? Are miracles possible? How do you reconcile religion versus science debates? Why is Jesus God? Why is Jesus unique? Did Jesus rise from the dead? Is the Bible reliable? Do the Bible and science conflict? (p. 141)
Existential issues: anxiety, fear, inner conflict, happiness, freedom, satisfaction, significance, broken relationships, loneliness, restlessness, sense of loss, self-concept, victimization, inability to change, adventure, sense of limitations, direction in life (p. 142)
Have you had a positive experience preaching evangelistically (or pre-evangelistically) on any of these topics? What would you recommend adding to the list?