There are some Scripture verses that put the same ideas a little differently, and the thoughts are worth reflection. My pastor puts it this way: "We're a mess!" Someone else wrote that "the good news is that we're worse than we ever dare to think." Sin is subtle and deep and affects us all in our calling, our writing, our editing. Lamott is talking about extending grace to people, and I believe that as we incorporate this into our daily lives, it will reflect in our writing."Writing," according to Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird, "is about learning to pay attention and to communicate what is going on. Now if you ask me, what's going on is that we're all up to here in it, and probably the most important thing is that we not yell at one another."
This is important in our business, of course, because we publish in semi-permanent fashion what other people only mumble to themselves. It's our job to put our thoughts in print. Recently I had to apologize to a friend for my criticism of him. Ironically, I had not extended to him the grace I wanted him to extend to someone else. Fortunately, he is my friend and I had the opportunity to talk to him. Not so with our readers. Once it's in print, it has a life of its own.
"When words are many, sin is not absent," wrote Solomon. Good verse for EPA folks to remember.
Ron Wilson is the former executive director of the Evangelical Press Association.