How Odd of God: Chosen for the Curious Vocation of Preaching
Will Willimon, professor of the practice of Christian ministry at Duke Divinity School, has written a new book exploring how God chooses individuals for the vocation of preaching.
The book, How Odd of God: Chosen for the Curious Vocation of Preaching, was published in October by Westminster John Knox Press. It looks at preaching through the lens of theologian Karl Barth’s doctrine of election ̶ that in Jesus, not only does God choose to be God for human beings but also chooses them to be for God.
The calling of the disciples in the Gospels is a story of election, explains Willimon, and shows how God chooses to transform the world by choosing people to be messengers and agents of that transformation.
Willimon argues that election becomes not just the content of the preacher's ministry but the means as well. He looks at the oddity of how this electing God reaches out to save the world yet leaves it in the hands of preachers to deliver the message.
After rereading Barth’s doctrine of election, Willimon delivered the 2014 Macleod Lectures on Preaching at Princeton Theological Seminary, from which the book emerged.
“Without intending to do so, Barth reminded me of the wonder of the preaching vocation and the oddity of a God who would call the likes of me to preach,” Willimon states in the introduction. “Election is God’s act whereby our lives are wrenched out of control and we are commandeered to witness, thereby enabling the joy of talking about something more important than ourselves, our families, or our churches.”