Monday, October 4, 2010

Tools: Word Count

Read at Morning Prayer today:

The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks. Luke 6:45

This verse really nailed me. It is uncomfortable to review the "treasure" content of all the words I sling.

The platitudes and small talk - like Seinfeld, so much of what I put out is "a show about nothing." The workplace snarking and cynicism. Curses over unpleasant situations. There is a pile of "evil treasure" in my heart, according to Jesus.

Today is the church commemoration of St. Francis of Assisi. Tradition says that he sent his Friars out to preach "using words if necessary." That's quoted often by psuedo-mystics and piss poor preachers, of course, and Scripture itself says we need people to preach the word if Christ is really to be known. Still, Francis provides a worthwhile caution that sheer volume of verbiage is no substitute for a life animated by a transformed heart.

The treasure expressed in Anglicanism's traditional Books of Common Prayer exercised transformative powers well beyond the church walls:

"The BCP is generally reckoned a masterpiece of writing, as Cranmer’s use of idiom, cadences, imagery, repetition, contrast and general rhythm made doctrine, devotion, and the sheer use of English both memorable and exemplary. In this way, the language and indeed the whole culture of the BCP came to be a major ingredient in not only the religion of England, but in the thought-forms and speech of a large proportion of English men and women."

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