The Point: Read Before You Speak

Let’s commit to read before we speak. For the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, I’m John Stonestreet with The Point.

Mark Twain loathed the writing of American author James Fenimore Cooper. At the beginning of a savagely funny essay on Cooper, Twain quoted three literary experts who praised Cooper to the heavens.

“It would have been much more decorous,” Twain quipped, for those writers “to keep silent and let persons talk who have read Cooper.”

And Twain might have said the same for a few critics of Rod Dreher’s new book, “The Benedict Option.” The title, some people might think, speaks for itself: Benedict. Monastery. Head for the hills! But in this case the title doesn’t speak for itself. And commenting on a book—especially one written on an important issue—without having read it or studied it, just ain’t right.

It drives us all crazy when CNN pontificates about Christianity when its reporters know so little about it. And so Christians would do well to do our homework, so to speak, before we open our mouths.

After all, as Twain might have said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.”


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