A psalmic-theological homiletic for the Korean immigrant congregation
MetadataShow full item record
This project challenges the practice of preaching shamanistic prosperity-focused messages to Korean immigrant churches in the United States in order to construct a more liberative theological foundation for sermons and eventually offer an alternative form of immigrant preaching: “a psalmic-theological homiletic.” A shamanistic-prosperity gospel reinforces a mostly success-oriented way of life, owing to its heavy emphasis on God’s promises about individuals’ material rewards. Such a prosperity gospel syncretizes shamanistic beliefs with the American Dream in that it implicitly advises believers to “make it” in the capitalist economy and uphold the prevailing values created by the dominant group. Accordingly, the project not only examines the prosperity gospel and its problematic syncretism with the American Dream ideology, this project also offers a more appropriate immigrant theology for preaching by reclaiming the priorities of God’s future in our lives and confirming God’s active identification with Korean immigrant congregations in the depth of their predicament as immigrants. After offering a practical-theological construction, this project provides “a psalmic-theological homiletic,” critically adopting features from psalmic theology and its theological-rhetorical movement. My proposed homiletic relies on Claus Westermann who argued that the Psalms are honest public speeches about a realistic faith that can be practiced in the midst of suffering. Along with a critical reading of Westermann’s theoretical approach to the Psalms, my homiletic engages in dialogue with Eunjoo Mary Kim’s sermon. As a result, a psalmic-theological homiletic has a four-fold rhetorical movement inspired by and intended for Korean immigrant contexts: (a) lament, (b) retelling the biblical story, (c) confessional doxology, and (d) vow of obedience. This project gives its attention to the theological significance of these four rhetorical steps from the perspective of marginalized people. Its theological-rhetorical strategy intends to transform the immigrant congregation’s habitus of living in faith and to enhance their hope-filled life through communal anticipation of God’s coming future. The project concludes with homiletical-dialogical analyses of two Korean immigrant sermons. Examining their homiletical strengths and weaknesses, the analysis provides guidance for future Korean immigrant preaching to prompt a more faithful and transformative way of life for hearers.