Speaking with Conviction

I have been thinking about classes in training seminarians in public speaking. This is different than teaching homiletics, or preaching (or sacred communication, as the Army calls it). Public speaking involves the classical rhetorical features (Aristotle’s three forms of persuasion: logos, pathos, and ethos) that can be boiled down to “style/skill” and “substance.” I hope to follow this post with some thoughts on public speaking. But, first this:

One of the resources I came across is the poem by Taylor Mali, “Speak with Conviction.” In the video below typography is employed with the reader’s powerful voice and inflection (style) to address common problems that are afflicting contemporary speech. I think this would be a good thing to talk about not only with seminarians, but, also, with business presenters, politicians, and, yes, you and your family. Help your children to overcome the media-saturated pop talk of, for example, using the “interrogative tone” even when you are not asking a question.

This is good fun with a good lesson. May we who have something to say, by all means, say it with conviction.

And So We Must Pray

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How to Begin Anything

Leonardo da Vinci, "Study of Proportion," c.1490. Royal Collection, Windsor Castle, London, UK.

It is a new school year. Teachers and university professors all over the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and the Western European nations, to name only a few, are beginning a new semester. I love beginnings. Therefore, I really enjoyed a new semester. There is nothing like getting to know new students, laying out the […]

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Preaching on Mission (Matthew 4:12 – 17): Keynote Message at the National Conference on Preaching

Celtic Cross Wales

  There has never been a more important time to talk to preachers about preaching on mission. The landscape of Old Christendom is like an abandoned strip mine, with huge, gaping, ugly craters, filling now with the most horrid debris and litter. These strip mines were once verdant pastures and lovely hills of Western Civilization, where […]

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Just Being There: Why I Serve as a Chaplain


“As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4.5). I have been often asked the question: “Why do you try to walk that tightrope between civilian ministry and the chaplaincy?” My answer is simple: I want to “fulfill my ministry” through evangelism. I, often […]

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With the Morning

"Morning on the Kennet" by Alfred Parsons (1880).

“Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5). Morning is the  merciful reminder of the faithfulness of God in the soul-satisfying promise of a new heaven and a new earth.  

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A Brief Guide for Writing Theological Reflection Papers


I have prepared a guide or “rubric” (in the modern educational use of that word) for theological students writing a “theological reflection paper.” I had one class in my seminary experience that was completely focused on writing theological reflection papers. I found it to be one of the most helpful classes in my education as […]

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The Sun Born Over and Over: Resurrection in Dylan Thomas’ Fern Hill


I was arrested by the subtle theology of the “Chapels” (Welsh Protestant nonconformity churches, particularly, Presbyterian, or, “Calvinistic Methodist”) in the poetry of Dylan Thomas (1914-1953). In “Fern Hill,” the Swansea bard recorded his thoughts with, now, famous, lyrical lines from Mumbles Road: Under the new made clouds And happy as the heart was long, […]

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Morning Promise

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851); "Dunwich;" c.1830; Watercolour and bodycolour on paper; Manchester City Galleries.

“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the floods, that they do not overflow thee” (Isaiah 43:2 Geneva 1599).

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John Donne in the Trenches: Teaching Western Literature as Moral Leadership

This post first appear as: Milton, Michael A. "John Donne in the Trenches: Moral Leadership and the Chaplain as the Living Repository of Western Civilization." The Chaplain Corps Journal. The United States Army, 20 June 2014. Web. 05 Aug. 2014. .

“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men[1]who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:1-2 English Standard Version). Rome was sacked on August 24, 410 by Alaric I and […]

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