Words Create Worlds
It’s been said that “words create worlds.” And it’s difficult to argue with that statement.
Think, for instance, of the outset of the Scriptures, where God declares “Let there be light.” And, sure enough, there’s light! The next day God creates the sky. The next day, ground. On days four, five, and six, God fills the sky with lights, put fish in the sea and birds in the air, and finally, animals and humankind. God speaks creation into being, because words create worlds.
But it’s not only God whose words have power. Our words do, too. How many of us have knowingly lied to children, saying, “Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will never hurt us”? We know that’s not true. Because words create worlds. And we know how the words others have spoken have deeply hurt us.
The web company 37signals.com once presented an exercise in clarity, inviting respondents to “Explain podcasting in ten words or less.” Here are ten different submissions:
- Internet radio broadcasting for the common man via iPods + MP3
- Podcasting is to radio what Tivo is to TV
- Ham radio for the Internet
- Digital audio newsstand
- Portable. Audio. Blog. People. Connections. Open. Communication. Music. Thought. Fun.
- Podcasting is the hypesatisfactic marketage for distribulation of auditory snips
- A fad that I don’t care to understand
- Audible Websites to go
- Subscription radio by and for everyone
- On-demand radio distributed over the Internet into mobile devices
I think my favorite is “A fad that I don’t care to understand.” What a Luddite!
Are you still scratching your head on what a podcast is? It’s essentially an audio file recorded and shared on the internet for others to listen to. Oops, that’s 14 words!
Even if you’re unfamiliar with podcasts, this is an interesting challenge, isn’t it? Not just the definitions, but the word limit, too! (It won’t surprise you to know that I was often tempted to go over the word limit on papers in college!)
Commenting on this experiment, one author writes,
Should we resist the forced limitation of words? Hardly. This is not an unfair restraint, but the best-kept clarity secret: say more by saying less. Fewer words that are well focused have further reach.
So, how would you describe the mission of Good Shepherd in ten words or less?
Our leaders have decided that it’s
Inviting all people to grow into a Christ-centered life in God’s family.
I know, I know, that’s twelve words! Still, we’re convinced that these words are clear, concise, catalytic, and contextual. And we pray these words will “create a world” of compelling service of living out our core values: Authentic Evangelism, Biblical Discipleship, and Intergenerational Family.
As we live out this mission, our one year vision is to go “Deeper Into Community and Further Out In Faith” - as we engaged last week. We want to lead every participant to “grow into that Christ-centered life” in a Bible Study, Covenant Circle, or Small Group so we can follow Jesus, wherever He leads us!
Those opportunities to go deeper into community are ways in which the words of others creates worlds to encourage our faith. What’s more, they are chances for the Word to recreate us into the likeness of Jesus.
On Sundays we gather in rows - during the week we get together in circles, to go deeper into community. There are open chairs, open groups, open opportunities! You’re invited!