Working with other people’s words is a sacred trust. That thought motivates me as I work with Bill’s sermons, getting them ready for publication. I (and Bill) would rather not call it editing, but basically it is copyediting.
I must trust Bill’s knowledge of the Word, both formal and personal study, for this is the basis of his integrity. He is true to God’s Word. Integrity is his middle name.
Watching TV in the evenings (our routine), I’m sitting next to him (for he doesn’t want me at my computer). He looks over at the papers I have on my lapboard and asks what I’m doing (multi-tasking). I tell him it’s one of his sermons and he’s going to have a book published. That surprises him. Then he sees my blue ink marks and asks again what I’m doing. Avoiding the word “editing,” I say that I’m moving his speaking voice to a reading voice, and I read an example. He seems satisfied – until the next time.
When I worked at Good News with my journalism professor, Charles Keysor, as my boss, I also wrote a few articles that appeared in the magazine. It always amazed me that Dr. Keysor could take my work, make it better, but it would also sound like my voice. He had that knack – while improving anyone’s writing, it still reflected the author, not the editor. I want that skill.
Now I’m the editor, and I don’t want to take liberties with Bill’s words. I want to keep his voice, pay honor to his knowledge and show his integrity. God, help me. I know He will.