Jayber Crow on Preachers

Are you a minister who wonders what people really think? I suspect that the words people say to me probably tend to be a lot nicer than the thoughts they keep in their heads. At Andrew Peterson’s recommendation, I read (listened to the audio book) Wendell Berry’s Jayber Crow. Wendell Berry gives us Jayber’s honest thoughts on church: preachers, preaching, prayers, hymns, and silence in worship services. These will be posted one by one so they can be savored. Here’s what Jayber had to say about preachers:

“And a few of those young preachers were bright and could speak—I mean they could sound as if they were awake, and make you listen—and they were troubled enough in their own hearts to have something to say. A few had wakefully read some books. Maybe one or two of these might even have stayed on in Port William, if they could have lived poor enough. But they would have a wife and little children, and the economic winds would blow them past and beyond. And what, maybe, would Port William have done with them if they had stayed? Port William tends to prefer to hear what it has heard before.”



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  1. Berry’s writing is incredible!! Have you read any of his essay collections or his poetry, Jim?! I’ve been a fan of Wendell’s for years and it seems that more and more people are beginning to discover him (thankfully). The religion writer for the Tennessean newspaper, Ray Waddle, is a huge fan of Wendell’s and some years back wrote some columns about his work.

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