How To Be A Poet Preacher

One good start would involve reading this post by Jim Henley (link via BoingBoing, who found it from Patrick Nielsen’s wonderful Electrolite), and changing the word “poet” to “preacher,” and “poem” to “sermon.”
One of the problems at the seminary level is that very few people preach a half-decent sermon in their first dozen, two dozen, perhaps hundred sermons. Overall, the standard of preaching in the Episcopal Church is pretty low, so some people preach sermons that aren’t nearly as bad as the average; but most folks need more than three or four practice sermons in seminary to make significant strides toward fluency and grace in preaching.
Here at Seabury, we put a lot of emphasis on finding your preaching voice, and I don’t construe that as opposed to Henley’s advice to forget about finding your voice. The two divergent paths actually converge where preachers have learned enough about words (learned to care enough about words) and the way words work that they can articulate a voice that effects something more vital than the casual trivialities with which daily life clutters our conversations. Henley emphasizes the craft (and I’m intensely sympathetic with the urgency with which he presses his case); here, we emphasize the “personal voice,” but the best preaching draws strength from both. A personal voice without practiced composition amounts to authentic superficiality, and elegant rhetoric without a personal voice washes past as so much more empty P.R. (sorry, Jeneane and Michael; when I say, “empty P.R.” I mean “not the kind that my friends produce”).
It’s work, and it’s hard work, and people can get better at it if they’re willing to put as much effort into it as they will to body sculpting or playing guitar or designing snazzy web sites, woodcarving, juggling, or playing Unreal Tournament. If it came in a bottle, everyone would be a good preacher.
[End of rant. You may resume comfortable browsing.]


Trevor was right.

The first round of diagnosis says, “De Quervain’s tendonitis, with signs of arthritis (‘crepidus’) in the carpal-metacarpal area.” So actually, Wes was right last year, and someone was right a couple of days ago, too. Everyone was right but my inclination to avoid a doctor. So, now a splint for four to six weeks, five sets of ten exercises (ten reps each), and possible electrophoresis, as the swelling in the base of my thumb truly impressed my therapist.

At least make sure they give you a splint that fits!

I think I gave up on the braces today. Will call doctor back tomorrow: “I feel worse than I did when I came in last time!”

Posted by: Dorothea Salo at May 6, 2004 05:07 PM

I so wanted to be wrong about this …

Posted by: Trevor at May 6, 2004 07:53 PM

Well, that’s a real bummer. Until two days ago, I had no idea it was still a problem.

I would expect them to make you a custom-fitted splint. Mine was. When you get your splint, WEAR IT! Don’t cheat. But you knew that already. And take your NSAID.

Posted by: Wes at May 6, 2004 08:52 PM


My advice is to do whatever the doctors tell you and do not…whatever else you do…do not test the limits of the splint. I did this when I broke my hand…um…yeah, you can make the situation worse by seeing just how far to push the splint before it breaks.

Posted by: Tripp at May 7, 2004 06:35 AM

The only unpainful thing I did for mine (well, other than the icing-by-cold-beer approach, which works!) was switching my mouse to the left side of my computer. It took two or three weeks to get at all good at it and 6 months to get where I never noticed it (except when people looked at me funny and said “I never knew you were a leftist” when they sat down at my computer).

My physical therapist suggested it; her idea was that it simply shifted all THAT stress to the less-stressed left hand. I think she was right and still (6 years later) keep my desk arranged that way.

Posted by: Michael Tinkler at May 9, 2004 08:41 AM