I'm going to tell you a secret. It's one of those things that people will say with their mouths but they don't really believe. That's why it's such a secret, because it's... it's like a secret of the heart. Your brain somewhere knows the truth, but the rest of you doesn't want to believe it. Are you ready for it? No, I mean, are you really ready for it? Okay, if you say so.
Your pastor... Your pastor is a human. He is human. Just a dude. [And, yes, I know there are female church leaders out there, but the vast majority are dudes, so just go with it, okay. I also know that not all of you, probably most of you, don't actually have pastors, but maybe you once did? Either way, just go along. It will make sense soon.] Typically, he's not even that smart of a dude; he's just someone that went to more church school than you. [Knowing more about something does not make one "smarter," just more knowledgeable, but that's a topic for another time.] There is nothing about his position that gives him any kind of supreme knowledge or authority. All you have to do is look around at all of the different denominations, even among the same branch of churches (like, for example, the Baptists (last time I checked there were something like 30 different Baptist denominations)), to know that none of these guys have the corner on "right." Not even the Pope (just look at the changes one Pope will make in the Catholic Church, in reaction to the changes the previous Pope made, to know that).
So, then, one of the things that has always bothered me (and when I saw always, I mean since I was a teenager involved in youth group) is when someone will say as a justification for a belief or an action, "My pastor said..." Guess what. I don't care what your pastor said, because there is every likelihood that your pastor has never actually even read the Bible. I mean, read the Bible as in sitting down with it and starting at one end and finishing at the other end. [Trust me; I've known plenty of those kinds of pastors. In fact, most of the pastors I've known fall into that category.]
Let me tell you a story (I'll keep it short). It may not seem to relate, but it totally does. Because, as you might suspect, this isn't all about pastors.
My AP Biology II teacher was a big believer in never taking anything at face value, especially because someone told it to you. His position was that, even if the person was sincere, he might just be wrong. So you never should take on faith what anyone told to you even if it was someone that you trusted. Even if it was him. Always verify. Always. This was the one thing he told us over and over again in class. Everyone seemed to be just nodding politely while they scribbled down the notes he gave.
I suppose he'd had enough, because, one day, his notes were nonsense. I'm not even kidding. I wish, now, that I'd actually written down the stuff he said. I don't remember what we were studying at the time (although I'm leaning toward kidney function), but the stuff he was going on about was crazy. It had nothing to do with the topic. I stared at him for a few minutes before putting my pen down. I didn't know what was going on. Only one other student also knew that something was up, and we stared at each other for a few minutes while Mr. A went on giving his bizarro notes.
The next day, we had a quiz covering the topic of those notes. The other student, the one who had shared the look with me, and I were the only two to pass the quiz, because we were the only ones who weren't completely relying on Mr. A's notes for our information. Everyone else in the class answered the questions based on the incorrect notes he'd given the previous day, and everyone else failed the quiz.
That was an important lesson for me. Not that I hadn't already figured it out, but it really made the point in a manner that I haven't been able to forget 25 years later. Because someone said so is never good enough. Not even if it's your pastor. Or your teacher, even your most trusted teacher. Or, even, a best-selling author telling you the way to go about writing. [Because, honestly, the only reason an author is writing a book like that is to make money.]
As you cruise through blogs, you can find the way to do all sorts of things: write, lose weight, get rid of clutter. Really, anything you want to find out how to do, there is someone willing to tell you the way to do it. But, unless it's something technical, like changing a flat tire or hooking up a VCR (as if anyone even has those anymore) or knitting a scarf, there is no the way to do it. There is only your way to do it, like loading the dishwasher. And you can't figure out what your way is if you're busy listening to someone else's way.
So, just like you should verify information when people tell you things, you should verify how to do things that people tell you to do, especially if it's something only you can know. Which means that I don't care how much money Mr. King has made or how many #1 books he's had, the way he writes is not the way I write, so him trying to tell me how to be a writer is like him walking into my house and rearranging the dishwasher as I'm trying to do the dishes. And not just him but all of those posts out there that will tell you the way to do "it," whatever "it" is.
Which is not to say that you should just discard everything. There are always good bits to pick out, but it's like when "people" start talking about how dinosaurs were killed by a giant asteroid. There is no proof, and most paleontologists don't actually believe it's true. It was never put forth as an actual hypothesis that had any scientific backing. It was just something someone said, almost in jest--"Well, maybe a giant meteor killed them all"--that the press picked up on, and we've never let it go. Actual theories of extinction have more to do with... climate change. Imagine that. But I digress...
The point is that you should always do the work. Especially if it's something that directly affects you. Don't buy into anything just because someone "said so." I'll give you one more quick example:
Many years ago, during a sermon, the pastor of the church I was attending preached about an email he'd received. An email that said that NASA had "proved" that there was a day missing from the universe thus providing proof for the story in the Bible that God had mad the sun stand still so that the Israelites could defeat their enemies before the sun set. That NASA had "proved" this is a complete hoax. But the pastor preached about it... because he believed it. He wasn't trying to mislead anyone or lie to them; he was just wrong.
And people who try to tell you how to write are also just wrong. Not because they are wrong, but they are wrong for you. And there's no other way to verify that information than to work out for yourself what is the best way for you. And, yes, that requires work. Sometimes a lot of it. And the only real rule about writing is doing it. Beyond that, it's all up to you.