Word Economy (The Redux)

By now, you may have heard the news. Deeper Story, the site where I've been a contributor and editor for nearly four years, is shutting down. All good things must come to an end, I suppose. Death is a natural part of living. In any event, I've been combing my Deeper Story archives and I ran across this little piece. It was first published in June of 2011, but the thoughts still apply. Do you like Hemingway? Then read on.


I’ve been playing with words and thinking about word economy.  The word economy is in a bear market, I think.  We say so little with so many words.  I am a regular offender.

Earnest Hemingway was masterful. He once wrote an entire short story with 6 words.  “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”  Some consider it his most complete work.  Let’s be honest, those people must not have read The Sun Also Rises.

It only took Yahweh 212 words to create the entire universe, if you read the New International Version, that is.  He did so much with so little.  Best I can tell, it only took him 18 words to decide that woman was a good idea, and he molded her form with speechless precision.  Sometimes the best works are done without words.

Jesus unfolded a Samaritan whore’s entire story in 36 words.  “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”  It wasn’t quite Hemingway, but then again, Hemingway never walked on water now did he?  Jesus spoke with precision and offered the Samaritan woman the formula for living water.  She drank.

Words carry such power.  Words reveal.  Words evoke.  Words heal.  Let’s use them well.


In this month's Tiny Letter (my monthly newsletter), I'm discussing the idea of resting  within church practices. There, I'm speaking candidly about some recent changes in the Haines' household, and I'd love to hear your thoughts. Sign up to read along!

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