Wikipedia helps for preaching

If Google Docs can help me loose weight, why not Wikipedia for preaching? (Not that I’m preaching much these days.)

Not for fact-checking (though I find a well-cited article is helpful for follow-up reading) but for style. Wikipedia has a house style that helps improve reading and factual quality while smoothing out writer idiosyncrasies. While I would hate all preaching to sound alike — and that’s the limit of a common style — there are enough preachers out there (novices, the rusty, the undisciplined, the harried) who could benefit from dispassionate rules and I know there are a few congregations that would approve!

A good number Unitarian Universalist preachers I’ve known have a special set of bad habits, including making broad, unsupported claims. (A breathy, faux-spiritual delivery is another: good style can’t help everything.) Reading and abiding Wikipedia’s counsel against peacock terms and weasel words could well right help.

The full list of style articles (Wikipedia)

3 Replies to “Wikipedia helps for preaching”

  1. Peregrinato wrote the following, but I accidentally deleted (rather than approved) it — sorry:

    I’m not sure how I feel about Wiki’s advice against weasel words. Some people might find it useful, I guess.

    Oh wait, I couldn’t say that in a Wiki document…

    I’m speaking specifically of their discussion about the bandwagon fallacy. I think there’s plenty of use in discussion for phrases like “some people” or “most people,” unless we’re trying to drive home a firmly empirical point which has to be supported by citable evidence. It all depends on context and application, I guess, and I hate prescriptive advice that could easily be translated as “never say ‘most people'”.

    Otherwise, yes, simple speech is best.

    As far as breathy faux-spiritual voice–I know what you’re talking about. I’ve heard it and I’ m not really fond of it either.

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