Speaking in Circles

People are often surprised to find out I don’t outline my sermons. I use the manuscript method. That means I write out every word. On Sunday mornings, I read them the same way, breaking occasionally to include other things that are not in the manuscript. My sermons do not look “read” and they certainly do not sound “read,” but that’s what I do.

I do it that way because my brain races 24 hours a day. When I am trying to make a point, ten thousand other points present themselves as either needing to be expressed instead, or as needing to be expressed in order to set my main point more fully in context. It never ends. I find it extremely difficult to speak in a straight line of thinking, without bouncing around constantly. Sometimes in my graduate classes I get off on some tangent and forget what I was originally trying to say. I love what I do, I’m good at it, and passionate about it, but without doubt I am the nutty professor.

If I didn’t write out my sermon manuscript word for word, here is what my sermons would be like. I’m not kidding. Just a line of nonsequiters and nonsense. I even struggle when speaking to friends and clients. If I could, I would literally never say a word without writing it out first. Seriously, it’s a huge mess up here in my brain.


I am a licensed counselor in Michigan. I also teach for Spring Arbor University part-time and supervise post-grads during their 3,000 hours of required work under supervision.

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One comment on “Speaking in Circles
  1. Trevor Mast says:

    I forget what the clinical term is, but it takes me a while to get to the point. I eventually end up there after much meandering. It drives my wife crazy, which is a good thing because it has helped me to improve myself.

    I too, find it very helpful to type instead of talk. I tend to do a lot of editing before I hit the return button, and the result is more succinct and intelligible.

    My mind floods with ideas, kind of like standing under a maple tree in the fall. The leaves are falling all around me and I try in vain to grab them all. After my hands are full, I’ve forgotten what it was I was even thinking about.

    I enjoy writing songs, but sometimes I have to close the file and walk away because I end up with so much on the page that it’s just a huge mess! I’m reluctant to can ideas, but it’s a necessary part of the process.

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