The Weekly Review

by Chris Bowler

Another reference to Alan Jacobs: he shared this article at the same time. This one is his own, where he shares the experience of giving a talk based on something he had written. But, as he's speaking to the crowd, he realizes he doesn't like the words he's about to say.

This is a strange kind of experience. As I was reading, as my mind was processing words and sending them along to my lips and larynx, a word pricked my conscience; I scanned my word-hoard for alternatives, and managed to retrieve one, to my relief. But it’s not always so easy. A few minutes later in the same lecture I came across a whole phrase that, even as it was about to emerge into the public air for the first time, was revealed to me as fundamentally uncharitable — but because it was a whole phrase I did not have time to construct an alternative. I was therefore forced to utter words even as I was renouncing them, to be convicted out of my own mouth of a lack of generosity. I was made to own, by speaking them, words I wished I had not written.

This makes me think of teaching Sunday School. When I'm standing in front of a group of people (most of whom are older than me), it's easy to get into a flow, but then come to a spot where you question what you just said, or are about to say. When that happens, I try to be honest and just add a caveat that I'm not 100% sure of my stance on the topic.

My biggest takeaway from those moments is to think of James 3:1: “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” 😳