Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.”  I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”

We spend a second week reflecting on my experiences doing mission work in Ugandan and Kenyan villages.  I was there to bring some formal theological education to local pastors who lacked the opportunity to attend Bible school.  We would gather them to a centrally located village and spend all day for a week on methods of Bible study, hermeneutics (the science of interpretation), sermon construction, etc.    Then on Sunday I would preach in as many of their churches as I could reach so that hopefully they could see me doing what I had been telling them to do.  In the evenings there would often be an evangelistic crusade—where I would be expected to play the evangelist, even though they were more effective in that role than I am!  But there was a method to their madness.

Village Evangelism

“But I’m a teacher, not an evangelist.”

“No, the muzungu must preach at the crusade.  That way, everybody will come.”

The stars shone on the hills of Africa

And on a sea of eyes that shone in wonder

At the generator-driven cinema,

Another sky of stars that spread out under

The temporary platform we’d erected.

They’d never seen a video before.

The younger ones had never once inspected

A white man.  I can’t say which held them more

Enthralled, the flashing images or my skin.

It was the skin that made them pay attention

When, once the “Jesus” film was at an end,

I rose to preach.  And now, what new dimension,

Stranger than moving pictures on a screen

Or ghost-like skin in health by some strange art

Could possibly be waiting to be seen?

Christ crucified and raised; the human heart

Made clean.

Remember: for more poetry like this, order Dr. Williams’s collected poetry, Stars through the Clouds, 2nd edition (Lantern Hollow Press, 2020) at https://smile.amazon.com/dp/173286800X?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860!

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