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Dr. Sillars Speaks to Students on Jesus and Editing Stories

September 12th, 2012

By Sara Foss.

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 441-8722
OfficeOfCommunications@phc.edu

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Dr. Les Sillars, Professor of Journalism, speaking to PHC students in Monday's chapel message

“Whenever I see that little bit of freshman personality, I try to take it and rip it right out of the heart of the story," said PHC’s Professor of Journalism, Dr. Les Sillars. "I can’t let them get away with that." In order to become great writers, he noted, students must first be rid of idiosyncrasies in writing that distract readers from the content of the story.

In Monday’s chapel service, Sillars drew a parallel between his editing style and John the Baptist’s humble reaction to being eclipsed by Jesus in John 3:22-30.

The first four chapters of John establish the main character and central conflict, Sillars explained, though the book begins with John the Baptist.

“By the end of chapter one, whose disciples are they? They’re Jesus’ disciples.”

When some of John’s remaining disciples came to him, upset that Jesus was gaining more honor than John, “John’s reply set them back on their heels and cut off their premise at the knees,” Sillars said.

John welcomed Jesus’ ascent alongside his own diminishing role. In fact, he said, “This joy of mine is now complete (3:29).”

“We become as great as we should be only when we glorify God rather than ourselves,” said Sillars.

Laying out the implications of this proper focus, he observed, “If you’ve honored God with your time, a C- is ok. And no more choking on your chicken fingers when a cute guy or girl sits across from you in the dining hall.”

Finally, he cited one more implication that has proven especially difficult for PHC students: No more agonizing over LSAT scores. To gain a prestigious career is simply not the point.

“All of us are writing stories with our lives,” said Sillars. For many, the goal is to hear “What a great writer, spouse, businessman,” etc. when our first calling is to do all to the glory of God.  Sillars exhorted his listeners to rejoice that in glorifying God first they will be better at whatever their goals may be, though they may not be more successful.

In conclusion, he added, "'Give me what is rightfully mine,’ says Jesus. ‘And I will give you more, much more, than is rightfully yours.’”