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  • steve carter is an associate teaching pastor who now oversees the rockharbor fullerton campus. he works with a great team of staff and volunteers who are committed to helping this young community become an actual family. steve lives with his wife sarah, their son emerson and their dog fenway in fullerton, california.

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November 21, 2008


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I'm down to keep this conversation going. I have aspirations of being a full time preacher for the rest of my life and I think this is a pretty important issue to think through.

Joe Grana

The use of other's people material is an important topic. At our University we are very clear and strict on plagerism in any paper. Many students are clueless or just lazy when it comes to giving credit to their sources. We "guide" them to handle their writing responsibly.
When it comes to "verbal plagerism", the issue gets a little difficult. When using someone else's sermon or outline, it is generally good to give some credit that these ideas came from ... However, after a period of time these verbal ideas may fall into the public domain. In fact, the person I heard it from may have gotten it from someone else. Actually, that is usually the case.
I just found out this fall that something I taught about shepherds breaking the legs of sheep as an act of kindness and protection actually is just folklore and has no historical basis at all according to my rabbinic student friend and his rabbis. This particular illustration has been passed on and on while being, apparently, in error.
When telling stories, it is plagerism to personalize what actually happened to someone else. It is easy to give a quick disclaimer that "someone has said" or " so and so experienced."
Word studies or background that is heard is more in the public domain, in my opinion. That information most likely did not come from that person. They either heard it or read it. The concepts come from the text itself and the background. The speaker does not have particular rights to it.
Much more could be written about this topic. It warrants discussion. Here are just a few ideas for now.

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