"We gather these gifts of language as we go along – lines from poems, verses from Scripture, quips, turns of phrase, or simply words that delight us. We use them in moments of need. We share them with friend, and we reach for them in our own dark nights. They bring us into loving relationship with the large, loose 'communion of saints' who have written and spoken truths that go to the heart and the gut and linger in memory. So our task as stewards of the word begins and ends in love. Loving language means cherishing it for its beauty, precision, power to enhance understanding, power to name, power to heal. And it means using words as instruments of love." p.23
~Marilyn Chandler McEntyre, Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies
The thing that immediately came to mind when I read this quote was commonplacing – the act of gathering the 'gifts of language' – recording the words, thoughts, and ideas that strike us as we read. This was a habit that Charlotte Mason encouraged on her older students and trainee teachers, and is one that I have appropriated to myself. I have been keeping a commonplace for over two years now, and just began my fourth journal. It is simple really – take those quotes and passages that really strike me in my reading and jot them down in a book. The overflow of that collection is what appears in this space.
James KA Smith asserts in his book You Are What You Love that we are all lovers – we will love something – it's part of our nature as human beings. Our habits shape our loves for good or for ill. The habit of commonplacing forces us to slow down – to consider – to savor words. It teaches us to love words and to use them well.
Sometimes, the simplest things are the most powerful.
On My Nightstand This Week:
Devotional: Luke with the Luke for Everyone Commentary (NT Wright)
The Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven (Maurice)
The Daily Office Lectionary Readings and Prayers from The Trinity Mission
Theological: Mere Christianity (Lewis)
On Education: Vittorino da Feltre and Other Humanist Educators (Woodward)
Personal Choice Fiction: The Game (King)
Personal Choice Nonfiction: Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies (McEntyre)
With my Hubby: Emma (Austen)
Family Read-Aloud Literature: At the Back of the North Wind (MacDonald)
for more Words