A Perspective on Writing, and Much Else

Here's a book on writing from which we can all benefit.

I recommend the book, Charitable Writing, by Richard Hughes Gibson and James Edward Beitler III not just for those who write, but for all who communicate the Word of God in any form.

This is not so much a book about writing as it is about writers and the disposition they bring to their work. As they say, “This book is concerned…with how we conceive of and, in turn, practice writing.” The authors counsel an approach to writing that unfolds around three primary foci: humility, charity, and hope. We are writing charitably when we can do so from this vantage point. They lead us to consider how we imagine our writing, how we think about our readers, and how we connect our lives as writers with our spiritual lives as followers of Christ.

Throughout the book, the authors use a variety of images from the Christian heritage of the arts to bolster and illustrate their argument. These are, for the most part, helpful and interesting. “The central claim of this book is that charitable writers listen humbly, argue lovingly, and keep the time of writing hopefully.”

The book is divided into three sections – one each on humility, charity, and hope – and includes two helpful appendices, which further comment on and clarify the argument of the book. Each of the main ideas is fully developed and illustrated to help writers see what is required of them as humble listeners, loving communicators, and conveyors of hope.

The book doesn’t offer much insight to the writing process. It is especially helpful in thinking about the overall calling to write, and the kind of writing one might do from out of a framework defined by humility, charity, and hope.

I will no doubt read this book again. It has much to offer for making sure our writing – or preaching or teaching or disciple-making – are honoring to God and a blessing to those we serve.


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