Four-Word Progress part 8: Time Signatures

One. Two. Three. Four.

“A person who…does not regard music as a marvelous creation of God, must be a clodhopper indeed and does not deserve to be called a human being; he should be permitted to hear nothing but the braying of asses and the grunting of hogs.” Martin Luther

Wow. That’s a little harsh, wouldn’t you say? Music as a creation of God? Did you ever think about that? People the world over march to their own beat and appreciate their own music. How did music originate? If you can’t assent to the age-old adage of “God created it”, alright. Luther says that you don’t deserve to be called a human being and that you should essentially only hear animals. Fair enough. I vote to give him a pass, I mean, maybe his quote was taken out of context? Funny thing is, scientific materialists point to the natural songs of birds and animals as giving rise to time signatures, musical structure and the overall creation of music. Because if it didn’t come from God, it had to come from somewhere. Writing differs in some ways from music because the musician “discovers” a scaffolding, an architecture as it were, waiting for her to build her song within (like a nest?). And I hate to use a builder’s parlance when I’m clearly referring to music which speaks—communicates—on a deeper level than words. But, as with anything beautiful, there is an order.

Vocals

“I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.” (Psalm 104:33)

Singing is one of the most cathartic things you can do. Maybe that’s why those who might be a little on the shy side (like me!) only do it in the shower or the car with the windows up? Because we’re perfectly fine with the sound of our voice. We don’t care (or realize, for that matter) that we’re off key. We might be tone-deaf but we sound just as good as whomever it is we’re listening to. Provided they’re singing louder, of course. It’s when we get together and harmonize that the flaws come out and realign and end up sounding absolutely wonderful. A diapason, as it were.

Real quick: have you ever been driving and seen birds at different places on telephone wires and wondered if you were to notate their position on a musical staff, what it’d sound like? God knows. And He’d get them to sing it for you if you wanted.

Guitar

“Sing unto Him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise.” (Psalm 33:4, emphasis mine)

If you are musically inclined, go for it. Maybe now it doesn’t hold the white-hot effervescence it did when you first discovered it as a kid, but I would wholeheartedly recommend taking some time during your busy life to develop the gift of music. I see creative gifts as one of the few things that we had when we got here that we’ll be able to take with us when we go, developed or not. We’ll have all eternity to continue to develop our gifts for service and worship to God, but the more exercised they are when we get there, the more fun it’ll be for those listening. Paul says “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” (1 Timothy 6:7) But again, if our gifts (whatever they may be) are a part of us, does that mean we’ll be able to still compose/write/draw when we get to Heaven? I believe so.

Bass

Bass is interesting. Without it, I think life would be a lot harder and more jarring. It’s kind of like a halfway point between the drums—with their rigid time-keeping—and the flamboyance of the lead guitar. It’s my jam—electric bass, that is. One of my life-goals is to learn to play. I suppose my main (adult) inspiration would be Geddy Lee (Victor Wooten is equally awesome in my book) of Rush. The man’s bass lines and melodies are amazing, a wonder to behold. When I discovered Rush, I felt a certain closure with reference to my musical aspirations—I knew what I wanted to do, musically speaking. Having received a simple acoustic guitar for my twelfth birthday and well on my way to teaching myself to play, I lost interest for whatever reason. I guess I never felt a heart-connection. I feel it with the bass.  Creatively, I would consider myself a writer first and foremost but intend to learn someday. And until then? I’ll just air-bass vicariously through him (but he’d definitely be the one doing it louder).

Drums

Backbeat is essential. Have you ever listened to a song that doesn’t follow musical structure (Radiohead’s “Everything in its Right Place”)? Certainly not for me, I can tell you that. We have a heartbeat, after all and without it, we’d be dead on the floor. Look for it. Listen for God’s beat for your life. Because even if God didn’t create music (He did), He created you. He has a one-of-a-kind playlist for you to follow where you’ll feel right at home in His composition. The peace that follows from stepping in time to God’s leading can be found no other way, not even from music.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” (Psalm 32:8)

P.S. I know all this refers to rock. While it’s my favorite genre, it isn’t for everyone. Part of what makes music the thing it is, is its subjectivity. To each their own. Also: my favorite song of ever is “Limelight” by—who else?—Rush.

Rock on.

Four-Word Progress part 7: Attractive Opposites

What follows is four word-pairs that are (practically) homophones and end up being antonyms as well. And one pair that looks, for all intents (intense) and purposes, like they’d be antonyms, but are actually synonyms (!). And so without further ado:

Avers/Averse

So, if you aver something—a statement, an ideology, an opinion—it means that you express confidence in the correctness of said fact. You know it’s true, so you aver it (“avers” being the third person, present tense of the verb). The root coming from the Latin word for ‘truth’. This being said, many people may show themselves averse (different root altogether) to the very truths that you espouse, that you aver. And much like truth itself, it’s important to know the distinction. The Holy Spirit knows.

Frees/Freeze

Fear can freeze us. Conversely, God’s liberty frees us. That’s how you know which is which. If you find yourself hampered for no reason, I would hope that you don’t point your finger at God and accuse Him of holding you back for no good reason. God sees the fears we’re infected with. Oh, He has the antidote. “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2 Corinthians 3:17) His warmth will melt the icecaps that are preventing you from getting where you need to go. Bask in His glow. But don’t believe that God is the one who brings all of your fears and insecurities to light when you look to the future.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11) Jesus: The living end.

Prescribe/Proscribe

This pair is similar to the first. Whereas prescribe means to put forth a ruling or edict to be followed (kinda like the step following aver), proscribe means the opposite. It means to decry, to put down and speak against an established rule. Again, both actions have merit depending on the situation. Jesus did both. Prescribing things for our betterment as well as proscribing the established order that was broken from the outset. And it was the Holy Spirit again, who showed Jesus and it’s the same Holy Spirit who shows us. Gotta trust!

Raze/Raise

Here’s a cool one. The root to raze gives rise to razor as well. Oftentimes, that’s the only time that God can get started on the work He wants to do, is when everything is leveled and nothing stands above the surface. After the waters of Noah’s flood receded (took a while), God was able to begin again, to raise up humanity anew and start the ball rolling in order to get Jesus here. “For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” (1 Corinthians 1:19)

It would seem that the theme here is one of truth versus lie. I’ve come to see the truth as being the least common denominator in the outworking of not only a moral life, but also one that is right with God. Because you can be the most moral person in existence yet that’s only with reference to humanity. With reference to God, all the morality in the world won’t get you very far if you deny Jesus and His love for you. His love includes all the morality you’d need to make it in the world at large, which brings us to our last word-pair. Before we begin, surely you know the difference between fact and fiction? One’s true (fact) and one’s false (fiction). Un-made (as in eternally existent) and made-up (Could be happening as we speak). But consider this word pair:

Factitious/Fictitious

They’re synonymous, odd as that sounds. I suppose the correlation, scripturally, would be that anything we do, while ignoring God in the midst, won’t be imbued with His permanence and consequently, His authenticity.

Carry on.

Four-Word Progress part 6: A Tip For You

The following passage from Malachi says that God promises us things that all the money in the world is powerless to affect.

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:10)

Baksheesh

A Persian word essentially meaning gift. Nowadays it just means a tip. How much do we give? Do we give till it hurts? Not in a restaurant, mind you, in life. Apparently Rick Warren “reverse tithes”, meaning he keeps ten percent. That’s admirable. But it’s so easy to give money. Just turn down your spending a bit and give that to the work of the Lord. Hopefully those to whom you’re tithing do right by your gift.

“And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 3:11)

Cumshaw

That word means the same, but its etymology springs from Chinese. There are a lot of misunderstood beliefs about prosperity among the different denominations in Christendom. Some people believe it’s a sin to be rich. Swiss Author Max Frisch says “Strictly speaking, every citizen above a certain level of income is guilty of some offense.” Ouch. I guess it all depends on what you’re doing with the wealth which God gifts to you. Provided you’re tithing, how much do you need to live on? It might be hard for some to scale back to a simpler way of life, but just like the difficulty of choosing to get out of bed when your body screams the opposite, a simpler life brings with it a contentment that money can’t buy. You’re happy you woke up when you did.

“And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 3:12)

Pourboire

That one’s from the French and it literally means “for drinking”. Or a tip for such. Paul said “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18) God’s looking, not for our wealth, nor even our possessions. If you feel led to winnow away your physical substance and serve the Lord in that way, by all means, do so. But the last vestige of ourselves, the one that we’ll cling to tooth and nail, is our own way. God’s looking for that. Maybe we want to give money because we refuse to stop and acknowledge God even once, let alone “in all [our] ways”. (Proverbs 3:6) Rest assured, that part of your life that you surrender to God with the right heart intent will be replaced with the power of His Spirit. Again, worth more than all the money in the world. It doesn’t matter which nation (or person) does this, they’ll be blessed. It’s the (super)natural order of things.

Lagniappe

Another foreign word meaning tip, this one from Spanish. Anyone in the Bible who followed God had their needs abundantly supplied. Don’t set your heart on financial wealth. You limit God’s hand from blessing you in other ways. Do you have the faith to live off of a sort-of spiritual barter system? It might run counter to the economic model that we function under today, but then again, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.” (Luke 20:25) Your taxes, your tithes, your tribute. Whatever it is that you make or acquire is still God’s. We don’t realize this much of the time, it’s just changing hands in a cycle that is more-or-less broken down to the degree of the greed of those in charge. Here’s a tip: give from the heart and let God bless you in ways you never imagined.

“And He saw also a certain widow casting in thither two mites. And He said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all. For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury (poverty) hath cast in all the living that she had.” (Luke 21:2-4)

God will pay you back.

Four-Word Progress part 5: For You, a Little Alliteration

Aesthetic/Ascetic

There’s a lot to be said for “sell[ing] all that thou hast, and giv[ing] it to the poor” (Matthew 19:21) to follow Jesus. A simple beauty to minimalism that much of modern society overlooks or rejects. I believe however, that we can achieve that simplicity and focus through inward discipline and gratitude and by cultivating a giving spirit. Being willing to obey God in the tiniest detail and live that out as our “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1). Luther was abjectly against living the ascetic life and shutting ourselves off from the rest of society. I see what he’s saying. Personally, I think the difficulty of interpersonal relationships far outstrips the hardship of living like a monk in a monastery. Consequently, the beauty, the aesthetic of society is yours to partake of. And there is beauty in the city. This being said, if God has truly called you to give up everything to serve Him alone, more power to you.

Affection/Affectation

How do you show affection? I suppose that’s between you and those to whom you’re affectionate. As long as you do show it, that’s all Paul asks. “The love which ye have to all the saints.” (Colossians 1:4). And not just Christians: “Follow peace with all men…” and women. (Hebrews 12:14). Really, it’s a command of Jesus: “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) There are several synonyms that would work: compassion, kindness, caring, empathy. But the antonym—that which you want to watch out for—is just two letters removed: Affectation. Affectation pretends. Affectation acts like it cares, acts like it is selfless and has the best interests of the other person at heart but nothing could be further from the truth. Be affectionate. Not affectationate. Wait, that’s not right. Affectatious? That sounds better, but it doesn’t make it any more authentic.

I used to have a problem with those two words. No, I always knew what they meant, it was the truthful living-out that I couldn’t fake.

Anecdote/Antidote

Each of us is living something out. Call it a life. But it better end up being so much more than that. Yes we’re here to learn and to love and to listen. And if in our story we don’t invite God to translate and to tell it as He wants, then the anecdotes that we accrue won’t end up making the road down which we came any easier for those following. Do you follow me? You may or may not know this, but there are people out there in the world who are going through the same exact thing that you are. One of the main reasons that we go through difficulties is to help others along. If you let God teach you through the trials, then the anecdotes will become antidotes, preventing others from making the same mistakes that you did. Or me.

Here’s a scary thought: “Thou makest us a byword among the heathen, a shaking of the head among the people.” (Psalm 44:14) Our story, our anecdotes–those little snippets that illustrate life’s inherent lessons–will be proclaimed one day. “That which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.” (Luke 12:3) says Jesus. When we don’t “follow on to know the Lord” (Hosea 6:3), then our testimony (really, the lack thereof) will end up having the opposite effect in the world. Jesus didn’t die and rise for us to be ridiculed for not following Him, in spite of professing His name.

As an aside, I had a book as a kid called “Baseball Anecdotes”. I loved it. If anything, just for the illustrated cover featuring caricatured pictures of famous baseball figures from different eras, all seated in the same dugout. I learned early on the difference between the two words as antidote is heard more often, though it’s something completely different, as my dad politely informed me.

Uniformed/Uninformed

“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:27) Like a suit? A uniform. That is what Paul is referring to. He also talks about putting on the “armor of light” in Romans (13:12). Peter even goes one further, speaking to women (he was married, Paul wasn’t), calling it “the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” (1 Peter 3:4). He speaks of inward things as being what we see on the outside. Interesting. All of these references and many more speak of Jesus in sartorial terms, as clothing to be worn. Don’t fret though, your fashion and fashion statements can be all your own, I’m not gonna tell you what to wear. Just make sure you put on Christ–and maybe a smile–before you go out.

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned (illiterate, the Greek connotation) and ignorant (same Greek root as idiot) men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13) Notice who stood out: Jesus. They were His disciples, sure, but Jesus was the one who got noticed.

Could we say that they were simply uninformed? That’s certainly more polite than how the Pharisees and Sadducees in Jerusalem perceived them. Just because someone doesn’t know the fine points of the Mosaic law and can’t quote chapter and verse doesn’t mean they don’t know Jesus. Notice what Paul says was important to him: “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2, emphasis mine) I believe that the first thing people see in Christians who are living in love with Jesus, though they may not realize it, is Him. Try that on.

Four-word Progress part 4: Same Differences

Stephanie Stevens ended up being my fourth grade teacher. She was hired on at my school and stayed for exactly one school-year. As a kid, I thought it was the coolest thing to be one of four kids from my old class to be pulled out and placed in this new class held on the second floor in what was the only two-story building on the grounds. Why I was chosen, I have no idea. She arrived a couple of weeks into the school year so it wasn’t too hard to say goodbye to Mrs. Morrison and integrate into this new class. There were already three fourth grade teachers at the school and looking back on it as an adult, it makes no sense to me why they would bring in a fourth and give her this neat little room from which to teach a small group of only twelve students, only to have her leave upon completion. I did get the best end of the bargain though. And as I was homeschooled from sixth-grade through High-School, my fourth-grade year stands out as the most enjoyable publicly-schooled experience of my life.

She taught us haiku and turned me on to the importance of journaling, we also bred hamsters. She had a pet rat that she’d periodically bring in to grace us with its presence–I forget its name. I remember when we as a class read On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My friend Jared and I were several chapters ahead of the rest of the class so she let us take the rest of the day (a couple of hours–an eternity for a fourth-grader) and finish the book seated on the rear stairwell in a race to the finish. But as cool as all this might sound, the thing I remember most from my fourth grade year with Ms. Stevens was learning about homophones.

She was disciplined and strict, yet kind. Don’t you love those kinds of mentor figures! One day, I had to use the bathroom and the class had just come back from recess. With her though, there was always give and take. So she told me that if I really had to go, I’d have to do an extra-credit assignment. She proffered I write down and turn in ten homonyms. I jumped at the chance.

With twenty-six letters, our English alphabet is hard-pressed to fully represent the plethora of sounds and syllables and words needed to correspond with the numerous, precise and expressive ways that we communicate every day. This is why there’s bound to be overlap. I hear from non-native speakers that English is one of the more difficult second languages to learn. Four culprits of such collusion are elucidated as follows. And as I think that many native (English) speakers get these terms confused, I also think it best to explain how four words (that themselves describe words with varying levels of same-ness) differ in meaning:

Homophone

This is like level one. A homophone is a word that’s pronounced the same as another (homo: same, phone: sound), but it doesn’t have to be spelled the same. Words like flour and flower, rite and right (and write, and wright). Chased, chaste. How ’bout metal, medal, mettle and meddle? Homophones. Pretty cool.

Homonym

Homonyms are rarer but almost more important. Because there’s less that changes between the two words. Homonyms are words that are the exact same in pronunciation and also spelled identically. An example would be: plane as in, a woodworking tool used to make flat surfaces. And plane as in, airplane. Or rock as in a hard geological deposit or rock, as in music. Gotta love it. This particular one-of-the-four was what Ms. Stevens got me started on because this is probably all I was able to wrap my fourth-grade mind around.

Heteronym

As time progressed, I became aware through reading and conversation that homonym doesn’t sum up the spectrum of weird words with borrowed pronunciations or stolen spellings. A heteronym differs from a homonym in that it’s spelled the same as the other word but has a different pronunciation as well as meaning. Yesterday’s post was an example of using heteronyms to illustrate a concept. Live in concert. Live in concert. Pronounce live differently and you get a radically different meaning of the phrase. Whether or not concert sounds the same in either.  In other words, it can be spelled the same but that’s where the similarity ends. Hetero: different, nym: name—simply put.

Homograph

A homograph is unique in that the two words don’t mean the same though the spelling and pronunciation are identical. While all homographs are homophones, not all homophones are homographs, if that makes sense.

In closing, how does this apply to our life? To our “conversation” (as it’s used in the King James Version)?

About the only thing I can see as far as a parallel comes from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians: “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past…” (Ephesians 2:3)

“If so be that ye have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” (Ephesians 4:21-23, emphasis mine)

We might look the same on the outside. With the same definition and the same spelling, we might even sound the same. But Jesus truly changes us. Our origin is now of Him.

“But of Him (God the Father) are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:” (1 Corinthians 1:30)

Four more words worth adding to our vocabulary.

Four-Word Progress part 3: Ten Times Fast

Harried

There are times in my life when I hate, hate pressure. Well, what am I to do when there’s just so much to do? People depending on me to do my job (writing is my passion, I’m not referring to that), to provide for them and see that their needs are met. Family, friends, acquaintances, strangers. The sea of humanity. It would seem my actions count for so little in this vast world, yet if I didn’t do the things that I’ve been tasked with, it wouldn’t just be my life that fell apart. When seen from this perspective, you rise above the mountain of toil and trial (and laundry) and begin to see your position as one of privelege. People depend on me? That’s awesome. I’m not gonna let ’em down. Service with a smile? Maybe. But at least I’m not frowning anymore. The Israelites, when enslaved to the Egyptians, were made to “serve with rigour” (Exodus 1:13). So much so, that it “made their lives bitter” as it says in the next verse. The Hebrew root for the English word rigour, or “rigor” as it’s spelled nowadays, connotes severity and literally being pushed to breaking point. I must confess, I’ve felt this way many times. Where my anger smolders and there are times I just want to quit. Reality can be a harsh taskmaster.

Hurried

But reality doesn’t seem to care. Neither does anyone else. I look at people in the car next to me, passing in the fast lane and realize that they probably feel much the same way. And my heart goes out to them. I don’t mean to sound condescending, but I hope yours does the same. This isn’t the highest to which I can appeal in getting this point across, but, there’s always someone who has it worse than you, than me. This is reality. And anytime we would be so inclined to shake our fist at Heaven and shout at God, please take a deep breath and let your thoughts cool down. They’re boiling over. This notion is not reality. I’ll explain: gratitude fixes everything. This thought is true and if we feel so harried and hurried that we can’t slow down and notice the fine details that are so wonderful to behold, then we’re probably going nowhere fast. Acts (3:19) speaks of the “times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord”. Look for them. Because God wants to give them to you. And I know that you’ll enjoy it more if you’re grateful to start out with.

Wearied

Time marches on. The difficulties might seem to much to bear (they’re not, you’re still alive). But what about love? What about justice? And mercy and truth and a hundred other outmoded ideals that seem to have been forgotten long ago? Our tears are in God’s bottle (see Psalm 56:8). God sees it all. One of the most subtle yet pernicious lies that I’m tempted to believe is that nobody—God included—understands what I’m going through. How could that be? It might feel right. It might sound like the truth. But then again, am I in a position to judge these matters? The only way that I could know that nobody cared or understood was to have a question and answer session with everyone—everyone. And then hope and pray that their answers were honest. And as I am not omniscient, omnipresent nor an arbiter of truth, this is impossible. Nor do I have the time. I mean, if I really wanted to wear myself out, I’d go around thinking and caring what everyone else thought. (Wait a minute!) Here’s the thing: God does understand. He’s the one taking you through this. Really, He’s carrying you: “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” (Isaiah 40:11) Rest in His arms. He’ll shore up your weariness and replace it with strength. “For when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10) Says Paul.

Worried

So what do I have to worry about? Try this on: when we take on one or all or a mixture of any of these characteristics, we are saying that we know better than God. This is the unspoken, wordless thought that seems to empower worry. I thought things were supposed to be a certain way. I end up comparing present circumstances with future expectations and then I’m out for the count. Whatever it is you might be worried about “your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things” (Luke 12:30). Please trust Him in this today. God “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). And if I’m not willing to ask or think along those lines, then He just may not.

But He wants to. Let’s not disappoint Him.

Four-Word Progress part 2: Time’s Signature

One

Information simply is. Information is all around you. You use your information-gathering apparatuses to take it in. Your five senses: touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste as filtered through our mind (more on that later). What am I to make of all of this, you might ask. Here’s the thing: who says that we’re supposed to make judgment calls on what we see and sense? It seems that not only is it necessary to discern (a word meaning to do that very thing: take in and know) the whats and whys of information, but it’s also something we do automatically. Without having to be told. We take in information and depending on our level of teachability and humility, we decide what we’re gonna do with it. Okay.

Two

Knowledge, in my opinion, is something more than information. Knowledge is one step above information. Whereas information can simply be without human influence or interaction, knowledge is information that we (as humans with minds) have taken in and accumulated and—hopefully—use to our advantage. And this is necessary. We’re not mindless, nor are we meant to conduct ourselves in that manner. When Paul says that “knowledge puffs up (makes proud), but love edifies” (1 Corninthians 8:1), does that contradict Peter’s exhortation to “add to your faith…knowledge” (2 Peter 1:5)? No. Because it all depends on what you’re doing with that information, with that knowledge. It’s a matter of humility and teachability—or meekness as it’s translated in Ephesians (4:2).

It’s also a matter of how much we’re willing to bring to God the input, the information we receive. Solomon says to “acknowledge God in all [our] ways” (Proverbs 3:5-6). This is something I’m learning more and more, every day, to do. God help me. God help you.

Three

And here’s where time comes in (thanks to my friend Andy for helping work out the fine points of these (not-so-simple) topics): Wisdom. Wisdom includes information, certainly. And wisdom is ten-thousand times more important than knowledge. It’s almost like wisdom is to knowledge what knowledge is to information. Just as the assimilation of information creates knowledge, wisdom—if I may—takes from above to deal properly with that knowledge. Does this make sense? Albert Einstein was incredibly knowledgeable regarding the physical world as well as the world of physics. But he was extraordinarily inept when it came to familial interactions. And in no way am I making a judgment call because, let’s face it, some family members aren’t worth interacting with. But I digress. Solomon, again in Proverbs (1:7), says that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” I don’t think this is contradicting my previous thoughts because wisdom, while utilizing information as well as knowledge in its outlook, does not necessarily require both. And it certainly doesn’t arise out of either because it’s something that God gives to you. Over time. James says (1:5), “If any of you lack wisdom, let him (or her) ask of God, who gives to all men (and women) liberally, and upbraideth (reprimands) not; and it shall be given [them].” You get the idea.

Four

Love. Love is the fourth. Love includes all but is directed toward God. Love supersedes all because that’s the ultimate aim of all information, all knowledge, and all wisdom. Each one on its own may be (even wisdom, perhaps) devoid of the kind of love that Jesus showed and exemplified. Paul, in his letter to the Colossians (2:3) says that in Jesus (who is love) “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.