Your Voice 2: Ethos

I am amazing.*

I’m good-looking, smart, talented and witty.

I may not be rich or famous, but I’m successful.

People like me.

Now listen. I’m going to tell you what I think about…

Jesus, pharmaceuticals, cheese, this book, my underwear and how to lose approximately half of your body weight.

You will listen to all of it because

I am amazing, and so on.*

I recently played a role in getting a friend a job at a company she already worked for. She was employed at a coffee place in Arkansas and couldn’t get a transfer when she moved back to Idaho, until I elaborated on her work ethic and general awesomeness to my old boss who promptly hired her. I was in management when I worked at this caffeine distributor, some of you may remember some grumpy stories I shared with you about this experience almost two years ago. My boss loved me when I was there because I worked my tail off, in spite of the fact that customer service isn’t anywhere near a strong point for me.

My friend got hired because I carry some credibility at that coffee place. I still frequent it as I love to drink coffee and write in the large leather chairs that no coffee place seems to have enough of.

Michael Jordan won’t tell us if he’s rocking boxers or briefs. I think the only people who care are cougars, so I wonder how that ad campaign has been so successful…

One of my heroes, Brett Favre currently sells Wranglers. How can he do this? It isn’t as though the man sews and all that crap, but rather, he represents the American man’s ideal self. Because someone we all want to be like wears terrible jeans, apparently, we all should.

I’ve seen ministries lust after athletes of both local and national acclaim because they anticipate that having a Jesus-loving, pig-skin throwing, bike-riding, back-stroking person with good looks will make their work more appealing and bring new people in. The same is true when we get famous authors, preachers and personalities from reality TV to show up at our events. It makes people think we’ve got our stuff together and encourages them to show up and participate.

You’d all be amazed if I got Jon Acuff to write a guest post for me, wouldn’t you? I’d be legit if that happened.

Maybe I’ll ask him to write some comments on the jacket of one of my books someday, instead.

Because I am amazing.*

When you write, do it about things you know or happen to be learning. This will help to develop a sense of credibility about your knowledge and character as a _______. I could elaborate on cooking and eating healthy all day but the truth is that I had a bag of microwave popcorn for dinner tonight, so I’d look like a fool trying to write on that topic unless I approached it as an amateur or someone with a growing interest in culinary delights.

I couldn’t write this when I started blogging. But since I’ve been writing steadily for three years now and have a degree in communication (with an emphasis in rhetoric), I think I can make a statement due to my experience and have some of you listen even though I am not an expert (I am a dentist in Kenya though, so that has to help, right?)

So go tell the world what you know.

It might get somebody a job.

Your character might convince them to make a purchase.

Your experience may lead them to Jesus.


*I might really think I’m pretty cool, but I’m not so cocky as I’m leading you to believe. I am merely making a point.

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10 Responses to Your Voice 2: Ethos
  1. Tony Alicea
    January 7, 2011 | 3:06 pm

    I can't tell you how much this just confirmed something I've been processing about my writing. Thanks Jake.

    • jake
      January 7, 2011 | 4:19 pm

      Oh gosh, I'm happy to! Thanks for the comment, I'm curious about the lack of comments on this post so far, because people are reading it!

  2. floyd
    January 7, 2011 | 5:03 pm

    This post is certainly worthy of a comment. Common sense mixed with some sarcastic humor? What's not to love? Well said and point well made. Enjoyable reading, thanks.

    • jake
      January 8, 2011 | 6:53 am

      Thanks, Floyd!

  3. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Dustin La Mont, Jake Lee, Duane Scott and others. Duane Scott said: Ha! Really, seriously. Love the Brett Favre comment. @muchl8r http://bit.ly/gMO46F [...]

  4. Abby
    January 8, 2011 | 7:29 am

    Okay. Just because you talked about me.. Really though, I think it's a bit scary to realize how much impact we can have on those around us. It's sad to think that I might take the time to convince someone to buy a product, but not convince them they need Jesus. Maybe I should take more time to consider how I am "throwing my weight around" and what exactly I am accomplishing. You're the best! Thanks for the job :)

  5. katdish
    January 14, 2011 | 2:37 pm

    Write what you know, not your version of what somebody else wrote or thought. Good advice. You will never find cooking tips on my website. Unless I have a guest blogger.

  6. SimpleCountryGirl
    January 14, 2011 | 5:15 pm

    Like mister Tony up there, this post coincides with some stuff in my head and heart. Thank you.

    And hey, I am a country girl and I was born wearing Wranglers so I reckon I can speak about why they work for us country bumpkins. Riding a horse or mending fence or climbing into a big Dodge works a whole better when one's hind-end stays tucked inside… ;-) Loosey-goosey, baggy, and fancy pants don't work too well in Hickville. Just sayin'.

    Blessings.

    • jmlee
      January 14, 2011 | 10:43 pm

      I'm glad this hit with something you were thinking about. And honestly, I don't really have anything against Wranglers, so I hope there wasn't any offense with that one, it seems like there wasn't any. I just live in a completely different world than you do. This place was country when I was a child, but a growing city happens to be taking over and suburban sprawl, so that's what I write about. And about Jesus. I think I know Him. Then He shows me another side of His goodness.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Trash Bags and Urinal Cakes | very Much Later
    September 9, 2012 | 7:13 pm

    [...] Making statements about truth is great, but relying on them alone forces the reader to accept the ethos of the writer. Let me tell you, I don’t have much of that. So I resort to images, stories and [...]

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