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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
                    Monday, June 14 2004

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Insights on the writing process

I discussed the topic sentence approach to writing essays—or "postcards"—here several months ago. Over the years, I've probably found more of my topic sentences in my own writing than from any other source. One I picked to take up today is from Friday's postcard on the late President Reagan: "In this political revival in our national life, the Christian community has regained a sense of purpose comparable to the purpose of the Old Testament people of God and the early church who knew that the Creator God's realm cannot be overshadowed by the civil religious gods of the Caesars."

Such "topicals" are curious because they are generated almost incidentally; they "pop up," while the writer is on the way to some other destination. In most essays I find much of the most important and some of the best writing emerges after I've completed my original outline. The article is "done," but now how will it "play"? Who might miss the point if I don't explain this word or turn of phrase a little more? Would a simpler word work better? Quite often, the answer is yes. Am I being "ironic" or sarcastic here, and if so will the reader be able to tell? Either get rid of the sarcasm or strengthen it enough to make sure no one misses it. The process requires reading and re-reading, trying to see how both John and Jane Doe will take it when it lands on their computer screens as they start their morning coffee.

The topic sentence above wasn't sarcastic or ironic, but it came as a surprise to me. It was taking both President Reagan's thinking on this topic, and my own thinking, a step farther. What is more, the point this sentence attempts to make is not supported in any sources I can cite, which is dangerous ground for any writer to stand on. Quicksand, often. It may suck you down. So am I sure this is a logical and defensible next step in the case I'm defending, from the late President, but which I strongly support and have written about many times before myself? I tweak it, change a word here, an emphasis there, a comma or a semicolon here, and decide the answer is still yes. This is the proper next step. Even if I haven't found it in anyone else's writing ancient or recent, it's sound logic supported by both biblical and historical testimony. President Reagan was saying that politics is always involved with religion, because politics must always be based upon morality and morality comes from religion. But I'm saying that the religious sphere of life always has a political role to play, too. The Prophet doesn't tell the King how to administer his government in the day-by-day particulars, but certainly he warns the ruler, the President, the Governor, of moral and ethical lapses, failures to insure justice for his people, who are first and foremost God's people. Yes; this is right, this is biblical, and it's consistent with everything that has made America the nation it is.

Before continuing on Wednesday where the topic sentence above jumped off, I want to go on record as believing in separation of church and state unequivocally; without reservation. The competence of the churchman or -woman is not the competence of the civil authority. The academic preparation and the "apprenticeship" in each case is neither identical nor similar. The state should never interfere with the competency of the religious institution (the "church") and religious powers and authorities should never interfere with the proper role of the leaders and authorities in the political sphere of life. This is proper separation of church and state and the only such separation called for in our national founding documents.

But this is far from what today's liberals mean, virtually every time they speak of the "separation."

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

Courting trouble

Two lawyers handling a case are having a loud argument in the courtroom while they are waiting for the judge to arrive. Just as she walks in the door, she hears the plaintiff's lawyer shout, "You're nothing but a low-life shyster." The defense lawyer shouts back, "And you're a shameless thief."

The judge takes her seat and says calmly, "Now that the attorneys for both parties are so clearly identified, we can begin the case."

Sent by Mary Ann Losiewicz 

Thought for today

Whatever women must do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.

Charlotte Whitton
Sent by Trudy Myers 

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