I Have Permission To Say This . . . .

permission to say this 1  Ouch!

Crawford Loritts is an outstanding speaker and preacher.  I have listened to a number of his messages and found them to be excellent examples of what it means to preach, rather than sound like a commentary.

As I was listening to a message by Crawford Loritts, I was reminded of the rhetorical concept of “ethos.”  Classical rhetorical theory indicates there are three kinds of “arguments” which will move an audience to listen and/or be persuaded — Ethos, Logos, and Pathos.

“Ethos” is not about being “ethical,” but about “credibility.  A listener will not give you “the time of day” if they have little to no respect for who you are.  You yourself will ignore and dismiss what someone has to say if you do not have some reasonable level of regard for the one who is speaking — Give me the remote!

Proof: What talking head or news station do you dismiss out of hand because they have no credibility?  Even if the source is actually true and accurate, you probably are suspicious at best and dismissive at worse.

If you as a preacher . . . .

  • lack credibility
  • are believed to be dishonest
  • are perceived to be insincere
  • do not walk the talk
  • lack a sincere interest in others
  • are disingenuous or duplicitous
  • are perceived to be a respecter of persons
  • are suspected of immorality
  • are the husband of an unhappy wife
  • are not respected
  • are indiscrete
  • are the father of unspiritual or worldly children
  • are seen as caught up by the things of this world and/or money
  • are self-centered – real or imagined, or intimated by your actions
  • are inconsistent in the application of truth
  • are possessed with some glaring spiritual weaknesses
  • are seen as insensitive – real or imagined, or inferred by you
  • etc.

. . . . whether you realize or acknowledge it or not, your words will carry very little weight with those who listen.

Yes, there is an expectation which goes hand in hand with both public speaking and even more, the ministry.  That is why there is a list of qualifications for ministry twice repeated in the Scriptures.

The Bible teacher or preacher can quickly alienate an audience by sharing information within a message that sounds like it should not have been shared.

The pastor or teacher can be seen — real or imagined — as insensitive and/or indiscrete when they share what an audience believes ought to remain personal.

That is what caught my ear as I was listening to Bryan Loritts.  He was about to share a personal story which had sensitive content, and he made this comment . . . .

( from Crawford Loritts — Seeing Reinforces Believing — @ 46:16 Minute mark of the original message)

I have permission to share this, because Karen shares this  — most of you have heard my wife’s testimony . . . . {click on this link to hear whole clip}

The point is simple.  Your audience will feel very uneasy —  if not upset with you — if not really antagonistic if they do not know you personally —  if they believe that you are sharing information which ought not to be shared in such a public forum!

When you make comments which come across as

  • indiscreet
  • insensitive
  • inappropriate
  • harsh
  • unfair
  • heartless
  • unresponsive
  • thoughtless
  • senseless
  • etc.

. . . . your “ethos” – your “credibility” – the “regard” for you as a speaker —  not to mention as a preacher, will hit the skids!

How wise Loritts was in stating that he had been given permission because he understands that to make such comments, he needed to have been given permission.

While there will be some, and maybe many, who will try to think the best when a speaker fails to get and announce that he has permission, many will remember the insensitivity — perhaps not consciously — we all forget “who said what,” but it will stick in the listeners’ subconscious attitude towards you as a speaker.  Net time they are listening to you they may not know why, but they are saying — Give me the remote!


Yes, We All Know This

We all know this, and that is why . . . .

we have asked our wives & children, “Can I share this?”

we have asked our wives & children, “Should I say this about?”

we have asked a co-pastor, “Do you think it is okay to say . . . .”

we knew it was not wise to say this-or-that


AND that is why . . . .

we have regretted after saying it, saying it!

But at the moment we thought

it’s okay!

it is a really good illustration of . . . .

it is a great way to punch the point at the end

they are no longer alive so we can share it

no one will make the connection with him or her

it is a real life, concrete example

I wouldn’t mind, so they wouldn’t / shouldn’t either

it’s true – I’m just being real



Some Help

For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. — James 3:2

*Here is another audio example by Crawford Loritts where he indicates that he is free to share what he is going to say about his sister.

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