books, words and beautifying the beautiful God

i love words, i like the way they feel on my tongue, the way they flow from my fingers when i'm writing, the way that they have power and beauty and seemingly all on their own they bring pleasure. but of course they can bring pain too. one word carefully placed, or carelessly placed.

when you're in the business of learning you learn to enjoy books simply for being books, a collection of words together, someone's thoughts splurged on pages, bound together, formed and formulated. you get to see inside someone, okay some books are more intimate than others, but if you've ever written anything, ever, you know that the words you write, as much as those you speak, bear the writer's imprint.

but in the world of mission and ministry it's not 'cool' to like words, to be wordy, to want to use beautiful words to beautify the beautiful God. in my last church words were all, what was taught with words was thought to outweigh what was taught in action and what was taught in words from the pulpit trumped everything. i thought a lot about the truth that God's Word is about more than words, about the fact that too many words can alienate those who don't 'do' words, cancelling out the illiterate and making church services so completely middle class. so i, perhaps even more than most, know the need not to use words to bash people around and divide those who 'understand' from those who 'don't'.

i agree with this, i do. i believe that we shouldn't make church some kind of mystery religion that only the few understand and who will let the others in on the secret only if they make it up the ladder. but i'm not sure about the generalisation that words in worship are to be trimmed down to the most minimalistic formulations. i know that i'm swimming against the tide here, i don't want to go backwards, i don't want to revert to formulations that are dry and rigid and have little connection with contemporary lives, but with all the emphasis on the creative nature of humanity and it's necessity in corporate worship, maybe words have some kind of future in contemporary worship?

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