A word in search of definition

The other day I responded to a tweet about the threats to preaching, and accidentally invented a word. Or at least I thought I had invented it, until a quick trip round the googleverse revealed that there are other people using the word “pulpiteer” – not all of them ironically.

So how would you interpret the word if you came to it fresh, as I did?

  • Mountaineer – it could be like a mountaineer, scaling great heights of oratorical brilliance, and gazing down on the lesser mortals below.
  • Orienteer– it could be like an orienteer – trying not to get lost and not to lose those who are running alongside you.
  • Rocketeer– it could be like the Rocketeer in the film of the same title – righting wrongs and wow-ing the crowds.
  • Electioneer– it could be that the pulpiteer is a kind of spiritual spin doctor, persuading you to ‘sign up’, even against your better judgement.
  • Charioteer – perhaps the pulpiteer could be a kind of Jehu of the homiletical world – riding in cavalier fashion over feelings and opinions.
  • Pioneer – maybe the pulpiteer is a person who charts a way into new territory.

As you can see – the possibilities for understanding (or misunderstanding) this word are considerable- and you would be welcome to add to them. When I used the word in my ignorance it was to express my concern that we should not use our pulpits as a means to establish our own little fiefdoms where we rise above all possibility of challenge or critique.

What do you think?


Coming soon to a pulpit near you? (Image:themoviedb.org)