I learn so much from pastors, and I’ll be blogging about one such pastor soon, and I’ve learned that I learn so much because we learn from one another. Pastors sometimes write me about cracking the code of a passage so they can preach it well, and I write to them about wisdom for preaching.
Now from a professor to a pastor. Pastors I think could help their preaching and their prayers if they read books about writing. Besides reading the Bible, pastors read books about management and leadership and stewardship and communication, but I wonder how many of them read books about writing. Learning about writing is, as Marilyn Chandler McEntyre says in her wondrous romp into the world of words, learning to care for and about words. Her book has just that title: Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies
How have “writers” or books about writing helped you as a pastor? What are the best writers for you?
But this isn’t one of those Will Strunk — E.B. White books that tells us to use good grammar or spell words properly, and there’s a place for those books. I’ve worn mine proudly. Instead, McEntyre’s book reads like a testament of love for the words this professor has learned. She’s been teaching students to love poetry and novels and how to write. She’s a master of words, and this book is lavishly dotted here and there with story and quotation, and pastors would do well to learn to care about and for words. Your prayers and the preaching will improve.
Princeton Theological Seminary asked McEntyre, a professor at Westmont, to give the Stone Lectures, and she essayed into her subject with twelve insights:
1. Love words
2. Tell the truth
3. Don’t tolerate lies
4. Read well
5. Stay in conversation
6. Share stories
7. Love the long sentence
8. Practice poetry
9. Attend to translation
12. Cherish silence.
Pastor, ignore this book at your risk. Read it and cherish it to your own blessing.