sin and spelling

No, I’m not going to write that incorrect spelling is a sin. it might be though. I was thinking about a pendulum of trends around sin and its acceptance in Christian circles and how quick we are, on the whole, to swing back and forth. Let me ‘splain.

On one hand you have people who take the stance, everyone sins, right? Everyone is stupid and we just need more Grace to be understanding and welcome everyone with open arms and love on each other and embrace each other – side embrace as appropriate – and just live and let live.

Then you have the folks who are more purist in persuasion (friendly persuasion?) and say now wait a tic! We are called to be holy, set apart, blameless, made purer in heart and covered by Christ SO THAT we are striving toward excellence and righteous living. It isn’t that we don’t need Grace, but that through Grace we can live better, less sinful, lives in relation with each other and while tolerance of others is still on the list, it isn’t as high up there. We are to hold each other accountable and when we see a bro/sis in Christ erring, we gently and humbly offer admonishment and guidance and a swift kick in the butt as needed.

It made me think of spelling and punctuation. Stick with me here.

So with the advent of texting and twitting and whatnotting, our society as a whole has thrown out a lot of the rules. I hardly ever capitalize when texting – unless the autocorrect is doing it’s job – and for the most part, we all abbreviate everything BIE. (That means “because it’s easier” … and I just made that up I think.)

The purist in me says that this is serving to further dumb down our younger generation of kids who actually say out loud groups of letters… BRB and OMG and LOL and so on. There’s a whole school of thought in education where teachers purposely do not correct grammatical and syntax errors in personal essays so as not to disrupt the flow of a student’s thoughts and free expression. Giving them back a paper full of red marks makes them feel defeated and stupid, so we just comment on the content of what was written and not the nuts and bolts of language.

But then there is this idea that we strive to adhere to rules because that best serves our content – that an excellent turn of phrase is highlighted most effectively by proper spelling and punctuation and grammar and not run on sentences that have dangling participles … or unnecessary ellipses.

I have to admit, I have mixed feelings on these stances and have come to the conclusion, for now, that somewhere in between the extremes is the answer. I feel that way about a lot of things. The middle ground is in the middle for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it’s in the middle. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

For me, spelling and grammar is nice and neat and we can all abide by it as much as possible to communicate more betterer and stuff. But at the end of the day, I’m still going to seek to understand those who can’t spell to save their lives and not beat them over the head, or worse, proclaim them illiterate and ignore them all together.

And this is what we do with people who lead their lives in a way we do not approve of (oof, now I’m all self-conscious about my grammar!). We have these set principles in our heads – whether Bible based or not, and whether we actually KNOW if they’re Bible based or not – and when people do things we think are wrong, we jump to one side or the other. Live and let live – or off with their heads.

Again, somewhere in the middle is Grace and I am not God. You are not God. And when we judge others we are taking out the Big Red Pen (BRP) which doesn’t belong to us. You have to earn the BRP. Which will be never. So put the BRP away and correct your own writing before you start correcting everyone else’s. Especially if it’s my blog.

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One thought on “sin and spelling

  1. There are two motives for addressing an audience. One is to serve; the other is to get service. The first one is gracious. The second is not so gracious.
    The intent of the communicater has a voice. Writing is what one does when there is no expectation that the spoken voice will reach the audience intended.
    Euphony and elocution of the spoken voice, I believe, can be sensed in the letter. If practiced because you love your neighbor as yourself, it can affect your written “voice”. (BTW… yours is pleasant.)
    A pleasant written voice invites the audience to “listen” with the expectation of a person sharing semi-intimate dialog in a familiar accent. However, familiarty without formality gives a place to contempt.
    Therefore, the gracious writer, being interested in serving an audience, will be recognized in the effort made to spell and puntuate according to the conventions our tax-paying parents provided.

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