Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Stories I Rub Shoulders With - New Post at Everyday Liturgy

I have a 1938 edition of Webster's Students Dictionary: Upper School Levels on my shelf. It's my go-to resource for the definitions of words I find in old books. Some of them are words we still have today, but so often their connotation has changed.

Take "charity" for instance. Today, the first definition most people would think of is an organization or system for giving to the poor. It's not a wrong definition at all, but it's not the main focus the word has always held. "Charity" is an old-fashioned word, one that in my 1938 dictionary is primarily defined as "Christian love."

That's a challenging definition. I'm not sure that we could all agree on what "Christian love" looks like.

The secondary definitions begin to give it focus: 2. An act or feeling of generosity or benevolence. 3.The giving of aid to the poor and suffering. 4. Leniency in judging men and their actions.

Interestingly, the organization or institution for aiding the needy doesn't get mention until definition #5.

I've been thinking a lot about charity of late. I've been pondering through the idea, and particularly focusing on the "benevolence" and "leniency in judging men and their actions."

I've been thinking about kindness.

Some of these thoughts formed themselves into a guest post for Everyday Liturgy. Here's a snippet:
Photo by Loic Parent
I read a social media post recently in which the author chastised himself for making snap judgments about the people he was seeing in the airport. I can’t remember who posted it or where, but the author challenged his readers to extend grace rather than judgment toward those we see around us. It was a good challenge, a gentle reminder. But as I thought about it, I realized that my observations of those around me rarely lead to what I would consider judgment.
Read the rest over at the site.

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