In the context of pastoral ministry, my definition is much simpler: “Wordsmithing - Using words to communicate the Word.”
I love to teach and to write (sermons, Bible studies, blog). Conversations with people involve words that seek to enlighten with the Word in a variety of settings and contexts. I've always loved books; even now I read (audio, digital, print) a couple books each week to feed my mind and soul...and to fuel output.
I faced a dilemma in last weekend’s sermon. Here’s the full text of one paragraph early in the message:
The chief priests and the elders were getting more vicious in their attacks against him and on
this day, once again tried to trap him in his words. They’d seen him ride into Jerusalem to the
shouts of “Hosanna to the Son of David!” They’d witnessed Jesus raising hell in the temple
area, turning over the tables of the moneychangers and kicking out all who treated the Father’s
house like a marketplace. So they asked Jesus, “By what authority are you doing these things?
(Matthew 21:23) Who do you think you are?”
Do you see it? Anything strike you as, well, maybe not the best way to express a thought? It’s “they’d witnessed Jesus raising hell in the temple area.” As the time approached to deliver that line, I thought better of that choice of words and said, “They’d witnessed Jesus raising a ruckus in the temple area.” My brain initially threw out “Jesus was raising Cain in the temple area,” which would have required additional explanation as people might have wondered, “Wait, what, Cain’s been raised from the dead by Jesus?”
I thought I’d smoothed that over pretty well. But then, in Bible class, my choice of written words became the center of a brief discussion, because after all, they were written down…on paper…for all to see…until the end of time. We had a good talk about it and all agreed that exchanging “ruckus” for “hell” was best.
The lesson? It’s an ongoing one: choose your words carefully! Whether writing or speaking, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you know how you are to answer each person.” (Colossians 4:6)
God bless your use of words to share the Word!
Pastor Stephen Luchterhand