Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Thinking About My Words

One of my new favorite bloggers is Pastor Jonathan Martin of Renovatus: A Church for People Under Rennivation ("Liars, dreamers, and mystics" they call themselves.). He recently wrote about words, saying:
I look around and see all these words falling—crashing out of orbit around my head.  I have loved these words lustily, but I have not been greedy with them.  They are all I have, since I cannot make anything with my hands like a useful person.  I cannot build anything with brick and stone that can outlive me.  I cannot make anything tactile anyone can hold or feel, anything rough or smooth or with any texture at all. 
Yet, I distribute these words like a street vendor to anyone who will take them.  I have rarely sold them. They are cheap and they are easy to shape.  I give them forms like balloon animals, some in the shape of sermons, some in the shape of books, in the shape of small talk, in the shape of 140 characters or less.  I spit on them, sweat on them, bleed on them, cry on them.  I give some away too recklessly and some far too cautiously. 
I like this because I, too, work with words. My parents instilled in all their children a deep love of them, and "when I grow up" I want to be a writer. 

I already was thinking about words this morning as it turns out, before Brother Martin's words about words tumbled into my lap. I was thinking, in particular about all the words on FaceBook, and my tendency to add to them, almost without thought. 

That's really what I was thinking about -- how often I speak, write, post, tweet, blog without thinking. I found myself wondering what it'd be like if I didn't.  Or, I guess, if I did -- think first, that is. 

Can you imagine only posting to FaceBook if it really mattered?  Not just to ... well ... you, but actually mattered? Made a difference?  Could you imagine that?  

It's been said that the purpose of ministry is to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." So what if that was the measure by which we judged our posts and tweets?  

Will this picture of my new puppy comfort anyone? Challenge them? Change the quality of their lived experience in anyway? Maybe so; maybe not. But isn't that a good question to ask myself before I posted?

Will my profound ruminations on what I had for breakfast make a difference in anyone else's life? If not, why should I take up airspace with it?

I would never want to suggest that there is a cut and dried, set in stone, bifurcation of what can and cannot be posted. Some breakfasts are indeed encounters with the holy. And sometimes, someone's picture of their cat, or of someone else's cat, has given me great joy and comfort when I needed them both most. Yet I do wonder if such a question — does this really matter? — Is a good question for me, and maybe you, to ask ourselves more often. 

Pax Tecum ,


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