Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Writers Can Be Preachers

I admire the command my rabbi has over our temple.  When he addresses a large room, filled with hundreds of congregants, his sermon is heard by anxious souls.  We, in the crowd, want to be inspired awed, and enlightened by his words and insights.  We want someone to lead us, to help us see things differently, to become better people, and to find our way in a sometimes complex and burdensome world.  Sometimes his words awaken something inside some of us, while other times he elicits nothing more than yawn.  It’s not a knock on him.  It’s just the way things are when it comes to sermons.  

Sometimes a sermon tells us what we don’t want to hear, that we fall short, that we have unfulfilled obligations, that we should see things in a way that may make us feel uncomfortable.  A sermon shouldn’t just comfort us or even inspire – it should also challenge us and remind us to think outside our self-indulgent box.

I wonder what it’s like, to stand at the altar, on a stage, looking out at so many people, and seeking to make a connection with them, hoping to arouse them, and make them see and feel what’s on your mind and in your heart.  What might it feel like when you sense rejection, when the crowd seems disinterested or preoccupied?

Writers, with their books, are similar to rabbis, priests, and popes.  They too have a stage or platform from which they offer their vision of the world.  They, too, use words and nothing more, to lead others to be more, to do better, to see differently.  Writers don’t watch an audience respond to their words, but they do look for a response by way of sales, reviews, and social media commentary.

Sermons are not one way. Neither are books.  The response comes in the form of what impact your message has on another.  Your story, your ideas, your theories, and even your fantasies can help shape the lives of many.  I think back, as a reader, to books I’ve read, like 1984, Lord of the Flies, and The Invisible Man.  In fact, they make more of an impression now, with life experience behind time, helping me to appreciate what the authors of those books attempted to tell and instill upon us.

Writers may not be trained in theology nor write about the topics most religious sermons are on, but the clergy and writers don’t differ all that much. They use the power of communication to help shape a better world.  What will you say in your next sermon?


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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