In die Skriflig
On-line version ISSN 2305-0853
Print version ISSN 1018-6441
KRUGER, Ferdi P.. A practical-theological reflection on the role of perceptions in the act of listening and the importance of dialogue in discourses about sermons. In Skriflig (Online) [online]. 2013, vol.47, n.1, pp.370-380. ISSN 2305-0853.
From the ecclesiastical praxis it seems that preaching faces hindrances caused by negative perceptions, regardless of the good intentions of preachers and the interdependence between prayer and preaching. There is a vast difference between hearing sermons and listening to sermons. In the light of this problematic praxis, the following research question has been formulated: To what extent do preachers equip their listeners in a dialogue situation to listen profoundly with the object to influence the perceptions of listeners about the preacher and the preaching? In order to address this research question, the problem is investigated by taking into account the present practical theological vantage points concerning this field. This research field is further explored by trying to get a grasp on metatheoretical perspectives from the fields of Social Psychology and Communication Sciences. The author tries to investigate the difficult process of forming perceptions as well as the selective nature of perceptions. In an investigation into normative vantage points, perspectives from Acts 17 and 19 are explored with regard to the role of dialogue in Paul's preaching. The researcher comes to the conclusion that negative perceptions are indeed endangering the ecclesiastical praxis and can even cause listeners to leave the church. Preachers should utilise dialogue in preparing their sermons; focusing on the dialogic nature of preaching in the context of the liturgy. In addition, preachers should endeavour to stimulate feedback after delivering of their sermons in order to rectify fallacious perceptions. Congregations should become communities nurtured by profound communication.