Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Is grammar naziism a sin?

This is a thought which occured to me in church the other day when I suddenly folded my arms and refused to continue listening, singing, etc. because I had seen an error in the news sheet.   "But it's wrong and it looks horrible," is what I would scream (or whisper urgently to the friend sitting next to me).  Let's look at what sin is, what grammar naziism is, and whether I should repent of it.  Somehow, I don't think I'm going to like the conclusion.

I would define sin as anything which prevents someone from having a relationship with God.  If I do something of which I am ashamed, this prevents me from coming to God, being honest with him and opening up to him.

I would define my grammatical condition as such that I cannot not spot errors in punctuation, spelling and bad wording.  When I spot a grammatical error, I freeze.  It makes me unsympathetic, grumpy and often rude.  It also makes me look down on those poor illiterate people who have written whatever it is that has offended my eyes.  Do I ever wish I didn't spot these errors?  Not really, because I like things to be right.  If something isn't correct there has to be a reason for it, for example for comic effect.

If being so fussy about grammatical correctness is going to make me freeze in church and stop worshipping, praying or listening, then surely it must be a sin.  Being unsympathetic, grumpy and rude are traits also associated with sinful nature.  I fear I must conclude that my grammar-fussiness is sinful because it is stopping me spending quality time with God and with others in church and is creating in me an attitude of superiority and pride, yet more characteristics which are condemned in the Bible.

It isn't going to be easy.  I'm going to have to make a big effort to not let the proofreader in me get in the way of the worshipper.  I don't think I'll ever not love perfect punctuation and flow-off-the-tongue (or pen), complex sentences [Douglas Adams] with beautifully rich vocabulary [Stephen Fry], but if I can stop it getting in the way of worshipping and instead use it for good, surely that is the best thing to do.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

How do I make other people's pennies drop?

I love it when the penny drops and I finally understand something which people have been explaining to me for a long time.  This has happened to me twice recently.

  1. I understand what it means to be saved, that the need for salvation isn't a result of my own actions but because of the fall and the fact that human beings are inconsistent and not perfect, and that I don't contribute to my salvation at all - that all I have to do is accept what Jesus has done and reap the benefits.

  2. I understand what it means to be redeemed, that we don't redeem ourselves but that Jesus redeems us.

Sometimes I want to scream from the rooftops, "I get it now and it feels great!  I know that I am saved and that I have been redeemed!  And I know what it means!"

Because I came to these conclusions on my own, I wonder whether I can make a difference to other people's understanding of things like this.  I can reason all I want, but will I get through to you?

Maybe my role is to sow seeds and then wait for them to blossom.  I am grateful to those who sowed seeds for me, those who kept talking about salvation and redemeption, so that even though I didn't get it at the time, I now feel so blessed that I am saved and redeemed.

Thank you to the sowers: you are my inspiration.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Your bad grammar really annoys me

Well, here goes my first blog post.  I decided I needed to get a blog because I have too much to say to fit it all into 140-character snippets (those who use Twitter will know what I mean by this).

My rant today is about grammar.  As I have just updated my Facebook status to say, bad grammar really annoys me!  Do people really not know the difference between "were" and "we're" or between "your" and "you're"?  Are they ignorant, lazy or doing it on purpose just to annoy me?

The education system has a lot to answer for if young adults are leaving university (notice I put university, not college, school or nursery, so I'm giving you plenty of time here!) not knowing how to use an apostrophe or not realising that there is a difference in pronunciation and a big difference in meaning between "were" and "we're".  I admit that there are areas of word meaning that I am not fully up-to-speed on; one example I can think of is the difference between "round" and "around", another is "farther" and "further".  I hope that I haven't used any of these words erroneously and annoyed too many people because of this.

The other thing I said in my Facebook status is, "Don't just say it's only a quick message on Facebook - it doesn't matter."  It matters to me! And I'm sure it matters to others.

I hope that one day I will be able to go on Facebook without cringing at the appalling grammar and punctuation, that I will be able to enjoy the content without getting distracted by its poor presentation, that I will be able to breathe a sigh of relief that internet users know how to use their own language.