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What Preachers Can Learn from Sportswriters

How to find the back story, put the picture in a frame, and stick the landing.

What Preachers Can Learn from Sportswriters
Image: fotosipsak / Getty

I can picture you, and I can picture him, and there is no resemblance. You stand behind a pulpit or lectern in your Sunday best, business casual, or dressed-down look, according to your church’s fashion. But he (and it was almost always a “he”), that famed sportswriter of the 1950s, wore an overcoat and a fedora on chilly nights in the press box. You stand straight and tall, but he’s hunched over a Remington portable typewriter. The two of you could not appear more different, but you have more in common than you might think.

I have this compelling interest in what preachers can learn from literary types, whether it be songwriters or authors of mysteries and novels. Why? Because we traffic in words just like they do, and we too aspire to fashion words in ways that are beautiful, striking, memorable, and moving. And sportswriters, especially those who banged out columns for their waiting newspapers back in the day, seem to me to be like first cousins to preachers. ...

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