Opportunity Knocks

What would a person do if he or she had a chance to start life over again? I have heard many preachers reflect on that subject. They say (usually in a regretful voice) that they would spend more time “talking with others about Jesus,” that they would “read the Bible more” and “devote more time to prayer.”

Those are beautiful sentiments, and I would not question the sincerity of the speaker at the moment. Yet knowing human nature as I do after some eight decades, I wonder whether any of those things would be done. Perhaps it’s the skepticism of an old newspaperman. But does the leopard change his spots? As Sancho Panza once said, “We are all as God made us, and some of us a great deal worse.”

If there were a second time around (which there ain’t, New Agers take note) I personally would spend more time acquiring skills so I could do things to express my love for God. I would learn to read music and play an instrument or two. I would learn the hang of operating electric and electronic equipment. Especially I would learn to communicate in at least two other languages besides English.

As for English itself, I would study the masters more, learn more about grammar and rhetoric, and try to use the language more effectively. I sincerely believe that in the 21st century the ability to write well and clearly will be among the highest priorities on the market.

Today’s generations have been taught to believe that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” The truth is exactly the opposite. Professor Calvin Linton said it best: “One clear, well-constructed sentence is worth a thousand pictures.” Christians who have the ability to write in English will in years ahead have a head start on all the “verbal” people, particularly when it comes to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Why? Because they use a lasting medium with libraries. Books wear well; plastic (videos, film) wears out.

For that reason, the forthcoming Christian Writers’ Seminar, to be held at Horizon Christian Fellowship, Fairbanks Ranch, on Saturday, Sept. 20, is of extreme importance to Christian men and women of San Diego County who have even a normal command of the English. Robert and Jennie Gillespie, my successors as conveners of the San Diego County Christian Writers’ Guild, have put together a distinguished faculty and a dazzling repertory of workshops and seminars at the 17th annual Writers’ Seminar.

An announcement will be found in this issue. The address is 6365 El Apajo Road, and the one-day seminar starts at 7:45 a.m. You are invited.

Not only will the enrollees learn what to write and how to write it, they will also receive personal guidance in selecting a market outlet for your writing. If you come, you will be able to bring your own writing pages for quick analysis by guest editors and prominent writers.

This I can guarantee: your knowledge of the writing profession will be greatly expanded through personal contacts with those who have mastered the scene. Also, you will receive inspiration from your leaders, for they are as deeply committed to the Christian faith as you are. Think what it will mean to you to write and publish a book about Jesus or some aspect of the Christian faith-and do it at someone else’s expense! (Only in certain circumstances do we encourage self-publication.)

I tried for 25 years to break into print, with only the smallest modicum of success. That was because I did not know what the publishing world was like, nor did I take the trouble to find out from other writers. Had there been a strong, working writers’ group like this one helping me, who can say what might have happened? Don’t miss this opportunity which comes only once a year. Believe me, it’s worth it. You’ll never be sorry. In fact, you may become God’s writer for the next century.

If you want more information, telephone 487-7929 today and say, “Woody sent me!”

Sherwood Wirt of Poway is editor emeritus of Decision magazine and the author of numerous books. The Poway resident is founder of the Christian Writers’ Guild.

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