cover image Charitable Writing: Cultivating Virtue Through Our Words

Charitable Writing: Cultivating Virtue Through Our Words

Richard Hughes Gibson and James Edward Beitler III. IVP Academic, $22 trade paper (232p) ISBN 978-0-8308-5483-7

Gibson and Beitler, professors of English at Wheaton College, in Illinois, provide a thoughtful meditation on the relationship between writing and spiritual life. The authors define charitable writing as “writing that seeks to fulfill our Lord’s great ‘double commandment’ to love God and our neighbors,” and emphasize that writing of any kind can be an active spiritual practice. Encouraging writers to read and write broadly, Gibson and Beitler makes suggestions ” tailored for a broad array of projects, including writing for a class, a conference, a publication, or for oneself in a diary. Three actions are proposed for linking writing with personal spirituality: humble listening, or believing one is “God’s student” and listening to the world around oneself; loving argument, or relishing rational debate; and “hopeful timekeeping,” or embracing the concept of “slow writing” by viewing time spent writing as bringing value in itself. The elegant argument that “humble listening” will allow practitioners to “see humility in action” and engage with the ideas of others from a more compassionate perspective delivers the greatest impact. Christian writers will enjoy these cheerful tips. (Dec.)