for adam’s birthday i bought us two tickets to see these two wordy icons, grant & martha (from one of our favorite radio shows/podcasts, a way with words), LIVE at TCC last night. it was excellent. and late at night for me to be out. BUT still i enjoyed every moment spent exploring the latin reasons for flower names (with martha), the reasons why i say “pen” and “pin” exactly the same (with grant), the story of martha’s father and how he dropped out of school and went to work in a textile factory at age 13 but at age 22 went back to high school, finished and became a preacher and finished seminary and taught at the college level, and then grant introducing us to new words like “butcept” and “assphixiation” (the tendency to add the word “ass” to everything. which i do. like a wiseass. butcept that is because i am shakespearean.)
but two things that keep resonating in my mind after the event are spiritual things. even though this was not a spiritual event. but as hopkins penned “Christ plays in ten thousand places.”
the first idea was from something that grant said when someone asked about a word. he asked them to use it in a sentence because words weren’t created to be by themselves. that when you see them surrounded by other words that you get their true meaning. how amazing that words are like humans. we weren’t created to live in isolation. that isn’t our truest self. in a time when all i crave is to be alone and do my own thing, that isn’t what i was created for. i was meant to be in a group. work together to make meaning. to say something. a word alone can’t really communicate much.
also it reminded me of the verse from john, “The Word became flash and dwelt amoung us.” or as the message version states, “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.” together. with us. that is when we can define (with all our limited human definitions) the meaning of Christ, from His work here with us. seems that words and THE Word do best in community with others.
another wordy and weighty topic was paralinguistic restitution: restoring to the written language sentiment. meaning, or other attributes that are easier to express in spoken language. yeah, it is a lot. but what it means is that spoken language is the REAL language and the written language is but the shadow. grant was explaining to a questioner how the internet wasn’t killing language. in fact giving it visuals (like emojis) is actually helping it expand and adding to it some of the sentiments (body language, facial expression, tone) that you get with spoken language that expounds on meaning. spoken language was & is the original language. and it communicates more and better and fills language with meaning that you just can’t get from the written word. grant says we are writing more than ever. our text feeds alone are a volume of one encyclopedia amount of writing in a year (on average.) we write & read more than ever now than at any time in history. (clearly that is true for me.) but the idea of spoken language being real language and the written being the shadow was also spiritually significant. God SPOKE the world into being. He SPOKE the Word. and the Bible is but a shadow of that real Word. words were created to be spoken. face to face. the shadow will never be enough to know the real meaning without the person speaking words and us seeing face to face the fullness of language.
who would have thought that a lecture on words would lead to moments of spiritual inspiration? well, my new little journal from the dayna lee collection at staples THAT I AM OBSESSED WITH would have thought so. because this was a page in it…
inspiration is everywhere. and even past your bedtime sometimes. if we only can stay awake to hear it…