Monday, 2 March 2015

Lent, day 11: just to clarify...



I love the gentle wisdom and humour of Calvin and Hobbes.  The above cartoon snippet has been in my files for several years; it was a useful reminder to self when writing up my thesis to try and not write in the style of wee Calvin!  In the course of research, I began to learn how to 'smell out a rat' when I'd find myself writing in a particularly obscure manner.  Reading back, I'd realise I was either trying to write to impress - being pompous and pretentious just because I could - or, I was still processing and wasn't quite as clear in my thinking on the matter as I'd hoped to be.  

Words are important.  The language we choose to use to communicate can indicate more than the actual words themselves - from underlying assumptions to privilege and entitlement.  It's very easy to get caught up in specialist language, and subconscious norms, as per 'a holy bible' comment from the other day.  It's not just academia, it's also the church and, for that matter, any situation/ issue brings assorted folk together into a group.  But within the church context, perhaps my personal 'note to self' is to continually ask: 'what's my point?', and 'what's the message here?'
Because, easy as it is to write a gazillion elegantly phrased words, if it's not communicating the simple gospel message of God's great love for all, then there's really not much point at all.  
And, of course, communicating goes beyond words.
I like St Francis of Assisi on this:
'Preach the gospel at all times.  If necessary, use words.'

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