25 Tips on Writing

In my former life as a professor, I once spent a week grading 68 undergraduate papers, each 8–10 pages long. In the process, I noticed enough trends that I decided to throw together a series of writing tips. The number came to 25. I was focused on academic writing, but most of the principles are … More 25 Tips on Writing

Starving to Write

The person you want to read is the person who’s starving to write. Anyone can string a handful of easy words into a recognizable sentence, like a Scrabble player with no patience. But the sentences you want to read are written by the guy who writes like he always has the impossible Scrabble hand: seven … More Starving to Write

Letters and Life: On Being a Writer, On Being a Christian by Bret Lott (Review)

Bret Lott is a writer, he’s a creative writer, and he’s a creative Christian writer. I don’t think he would write a normal review — summary, strengths, and interaction. That would be the easy route. That would, in terms of its category, “borrow from the vast steaming pile of clichés we always have ready at … More Letters and Life: On Being a Writer, On Being a Christian by Bret Lott (Review)

A Wedding Poem

WEDDING INVITATION POEM Gunner & Cindi Gundersen Fall 2001 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ … More A Wedding Poem

This Is Why

This is why. This is why you should beware of starting sentences with “this.” When you do this, your meaning will be somewhat vague. When you don’t do this, your meaning will be more clear. “But wait,” the grammar cop objects, “this is only unclear because you started the entire post with an antecedent-less ‘this.’” My … More This Is Why

A Word to the Would-Be Teacher (James 3:1-13)

James, some of us are interested in teaching — you know, preaching in church, teaching the Bible, writing good books, leading small groups, blogging biblical insights, posting instructive Facebook notes.  What do you think? Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers. Why not? There are two main reasons. What’s the first reason? We who teach will … More A Word to the Would-Be Teacher (James 3:1-13)

The Decline of the Greek Infinitive

Did you know that beginning in Greco-Roman times, the Greek infinitive began to decline in popular usage, and by the Byzantine period had all but disappeared in common communication?  There are a lot of little linguistic jewels in this description by Antonius Jannaris in his Historical Greek Grammar: Notwithstanding its convenience, the Greek infinitive, compared … More The Decline of the Greek Infinitive

The End of the Last Word

One interesting (and horrible) thing about the endless tidbit discussions encouraged by contemporary written media is that the wonderful concept of the last, striking, unanswerable word is virtually unattainable.  We’ve reached, at least in some settings, the end of the last word. You know that 15-comment Facebook discussion packed with lowercase one-liners where everyone’s channeling their inner debate team champion and … More The End of the Last Word

Imaginary Conversations

I’ve had several remarkable conversations recently.  I made incredible points with decleating rhetoric complete with magnetic emotion.  In each case my conversation partner was slow-witted and unimpressive, and more or less faded into the background.  I was oratorically indestructible, surprising even myself with my penetrating words and impeccable argumentation.  Propositions were concrete and immovable.  Illustrations … More Imaginary Conversations

Wit and Wisdom from John Hannah (15)

Here are some approximate quotes from John Hannah’s lecture on Jonathan Edwards’ 1757 work The Great Doctrine of Original Sin Defended.  The technical term for the doctrine of sin is “hamartiology,” from the Greek word hamartia).  If there’s one doctrine that we instinctively revile or at least ignore, it’s this one.  It devastates our perceived … More Wit and Wisdom from John Hannah (15)

Wit and Wisdom from John Hannah (14)

Here are more loose, assorted quotes from John Hannah and his Winterim class that I took in January on the Life and Writings of Jonathan Edwards.  These are from his lectures on three separate topics: (1) Edwards’ History of the Work of Redemption; (2) the “Communion Controversy” (which ended in Edwards’ dismissal from his pastorate); and … More Wit and Wisdom from John Hannah (14)