Overshadowed by the Spirit of God

The Distillery Season Five

What would it mean for preachers to reclaim the full humanity of preaching by moving out from under the shadow of false ideals and be overshadowed by the Spirit instead? In this episode, Jerusha Neal, assistant professor of homiletics at Duke Divinity School, explores a homiletic theology that reclaims the absence and presence of the fully human Word, offers fresh conceptions on the embodiment of Jesus in the sermon, and compares the Spirit-empowered pregnancy of Mary to the work of preaching.


Jerusha Matsen Neal, assistant professor of homiletics at Duke Divinity School, is an ordained American Baptist minister. She has also served as a Global Ministries missionary to the Fiji Islands through the United Methodist Church. Neal has spent her ministry preaching in cross-cultural spaces and bridging denominational communities. God’s work in these in-between locations has convinced her that preaching matters more than ever.

Her new book, The Overshadowed Preacher (Eerdmans, 2020), asks the sticky question of what we mean when we say preaching is “anointed.” It challenges preachers to leave behind false shadows and be overshadowed by the Spirit of God. It received a 2020 Christianity Today Jesus Creed Book Award for the Preaching Life. A former actress and playwright, she has also authored a collection of dramatic monologues, Blessed: Monologues for Mary (Cascade, 2012).

Educating faithful Christian leaders.

Pastor at Franklin Lakes United Methodist Church, New Jersey

Alison VanBuskirk, Class of 2015

“My call as a pastor centers on shaping a community where people can connect and be real with each other and God.”