Words convey information: that’s important to me.
Words, strung together in sentences are information vehicles driving thought from one person (me) to another (reader): that’s important to me. The nature of verbal communication is to transfer the information via the ether, with syllables of sound; if there are no ears to hear, the words disappear. The communication falters. If words are passed orally to another, the communication is received but the information is now reformulated through another vehicle.
Written communication addresses the weakness of oral communication.
Written thoughts are not merely communication of information to be assimilated or rejected depending on distance, spaceotemporal placement or soceo-cultural circumstance; they become tangible, obtrusive, holding the communicator accountable and putting the onus of understanding and appropriation on the reader.
Written words, then, are infinitely important.
Anything you say can be denied; everything recorded can be damning. In a verbal presentation, a slip of the tongue or an unfortunate turn of phrase can be ignored, forgotten and even reinterpreted; in text, the same thing can result in damage to the writer’s reputation or to the belief system of the reader.
I care about my written words; I think they’re important.
I don’t like writing about what I don’t know about. I especially don’t like writing about Christianity, These The Most Serious Things, without having put in some serious thought into what I’m writing.
Know my mind as I sit down to write; the questions begin to percolate; the thoughts begin to hum: Is what I’m writing dangerous? Can someone’s faith be derailed? How is what I am writing helpful to the people who are reading right now and similarly helpful to the people who are searching and finding? Are my words thorough enough to stand on their own as a full presentation of what they’re dealing with? Are there enough necessary connections of thought to allow further research and written discussion?
This is why, sometimes, I might not interact with commenters or even with some blogs altogether. It’s not that I don’t take the seriously; it’s that I take my written words (and theirs) that seriously. I don’t like repeating previous arguments where my points have been thought out, connected, presented and recorded; I do it once, twice, maybe thrice—as long as the context allows me to present the information differently—but after that, my pen remains on the table. The ink starts to dry. The text stands on its own. It gets picked up again when my thoughts on the matter are provoked o change.
So, it’s not you; it’s me. I think highly of my written word. Call it a messed up honor code. Call it totally elitist. Know, that I take your written word just as seriously.
Our written words stand; that’s important. That matters.