How is it that some writers can come across as preachy, and others as perfectly reasonable when talking about faith? How is it that some people can make us laugh while telling us an important truth, and others can make us wince?
The delivery of your truth is as important as the truth itself.
So we read authors who are doing this effectively. The books at the right are just samples, as are the names below.
Writers we have read in this course are Anne Lamott, Annie Dillard, Andre Dubus, E.O. Wilson, Wendell Berry, Ron Hansen, Robert Olen Butler, CS Lewis, Garrison Keillor, Dennis Covington, Phillip Yancey, Virginia Stem Owens, Stephen J. Gould, Don Miller, Kathleen Norris, Alice Munro, John Updike, Jhumpa Lahiri, Lauren Winner, Martin Luther King, Jr., Frederika Matthewes-Green, Tony Campolo, Thich Nach Hahn. We have read excerpts from the Best Spiritual Writing, Best Christian Writing, Best Buddhist Writing series, the Shambhala Sun, Image, and other spiritual magazines and collections. The writings can change every workshop, and students are encouraged to read widely. We use the writings to examine technique, not theology.
It matters not what an author believes; it matters how they talk about it. Borrowing techniques from other authors, you can learn to talk about the faith experiences you have had.
Christian-based texts, or a multi-faith version: I do offer a church the option of only looking at Christian writers, or looking at multiple faiths, depending on their needs. Many churches are in communities that serve multiple faiths, and can use this workshop as a way to reach out to Muslim, Buddhist, Pagan, and other spiritual faiths in their area, or sample writings from other faiths to understand how the methods and techniques about writing about your faith are universal.