The Naked Preacher
THE NAKED PREACHER
Action Research and a Practice of Preaching
Jason C. BoydI've read this book, so you don't have to. The sub-title gives a hint of what it is about: Action Research and a Practice of Preaching. I spent part of my working life as an industrial research chemist, and then as a technical information officer, so I am familiar with academic writing – and I fear this book required a much tougher editor. (It often felt like a self-published book that hadn't had any editing.) Before the introduction there is a full page of abbreviations which I kept having to come back to as I read, as they sprinkle his pages like salt on a pile of chips. He suggests that if you are not interested in 'action research' you should skip the first two chapters – but if you do, you are dropped straight into a discussion of ‘Word Café’ which is his way of doing 'action research as theology'. Word Café is a process whereby he invites his congregation to stay behind after the service, to have tea and biscuits, and discuss his sermon by making notes on the paper tablecloth provided. This section refers repeatedly to notes from these comments, and is much like a memoir. The rest of the chapters read like an extended literature review about this subset of sociology research, referring to many other people's views, and adding his evaluation of those views. As a Congregational minister, he just assumes that the preacher is preaching to the same congregation every Sunday. This is rarely true of Readers. There was nothing in this book that helped this Reader at all.
Reviewed by Ian Wells
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