Devotion: Good Writing and Sound Doctrine
By Kara Oliver
Rev. Alfred Karimu led the opening devotion of the fourth annual Anglophone Writers' Workshop held at Gbarnga School of Theology in Liberia, June 20 - 24, 2017. May you find the same inspiration and commitment to writing that we found in our week together.
In Titus 2: 1-10, the authority of Titus is greatly emphasized. It is grounded in his church office, but it is derived also from his authoritative message. His message, the true doctrine, has been transmitted to him from Paul. And Paul has directed him to carry out certain duties in Crete.
Similarly, this group has been carefully selected because of your scholarship, your religious insight, and your ability to communicate with others through writing.
You have been brought together as professional writers and those who can be developed into professional writers, to teach and to learn how to produce materials for ministers, laity and persons engaged in teaching. You have been brought from many nations in Africa to contribute to this task. Your task is to produce materials for people who will be instructed in reverent behaviour, the kind of behaviour Paul wanted young Titus to teach the church.
Sound doctrine can be best achieved through the transfer of the knowledge that is stored up in you who are present here under my voice.
As writers and potential writers, you can use written words in various styles and techniques to communicate your ideas. You have the ability to produce various forms of literary art and creative writing such as novels, short stories, poetry, plays, and essays as well as various reports and news articles that may be of interest to the public. Writers who are able to use language to express ideas well, often contribute significantly to the cultural content of society. This healthy group of writers that has developed in the United Methodist Church across Africa is going to produce materials in a number of genres: fiction and non- fiction.
I want to convince myself that UMC would not mind if you work professionally or non-professionally as long as your writing befits sound doctrine-for money or not for money.
I believe that by the end of this workshop you will have learned the principles that guide good writing such as:
- Clear use of language.
- The ability to be concise.
- The ability to be objective.
- The ability to present information in the most suitable way.
- The patience to revise and re-write your scripts.
- And, finally, the ability to write for your specific audience.
May God guide us all as we carry on the discussions and as we try to acquire new skills.