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Uncovering Moral Emphases in Preaching

Wanting to understand the origins of deep divides in the American political landscape, Dr. Jonathan Haidt began researching how people make moral judgements based on different core values. He summarized his findings in The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and ReligionHaidt even included a brief analysis of sermons that showed how pastors from different denominations tended to emphasize different moral values in their preaching. For instance, Unitarian Universalist pastors emphasized Care and Fairness, while Baptist preachers emphasized Loyalty, Authority, and Sanctity. We would like to make use of Haidt’s research to help a small group of pastors analyze the moral emphases in their own sermons. Ultimately, the goal of this work is to help pastors come to a greater awareness of their moral emphases in preaching and to diversify their sermons in order to reach a broader audience. 

Requirements: Participation is limited to 12 pastors engaged in regular preaching. They must be willing to submit five sermons for textual analysis by February 15, 2020, and participate in the two-day workshop in March.

Dates: March 2, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – March 3, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Presenter: Michael Murray

Cost: $60 each, includes lunch on Tuesday and refreshments both days

Location: Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, McCord Community Center room 203, 100 East 27th Street, Austin, 78705

About the Presenter

Mike Murray (MDiv’61) is a graduate of Austin College and Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and was ordained in 1961. After pastoring churches in Texas and Pennsylvania for 12 years, Mike became a trainer, facilitator, and consultant to churches and many other types of organizations:  private-sector, government, and non-profit. As owner of a training and consulting business and as a featured speaker for a major seminar company, Mike has trained more than 375,000 seminar participants in areas such as change management, conflict resolution, strategic planning, customer service, creative problem solving, and team building. Church organizations he has worked for include: The Texas and the Southwest Texas Conferences of the Methodist Church, The Texas Methodist Foundation, The Presbyterian Children’s Home and Service Agency, Marble Collegiate Church in New York City, Austin Seminary, the Synod of the Sun, Pastoral Care Network of the PCUSA, and at least 75 other Presbyterian and Methodist congregations or organizations. He currently serves as Parish Associate for Leadership Development at First Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas.