Magazine article Anglican Journal

The Medium Is the Message

Magazine article Anglican Journal

The Medium Is the Message

Article excerpt

CHILDREN should be seen and not heard. That was the message my sister and I received from a very early age.

I suppose my parents were simply looking for some respite over the course of a long, long day. But in the end, that directive, rigidly enforced, became my raison d'etre as a fledgling writer. Every day I wrote copious amounts. I didn't have to think. The words just came out, the hand holding my pen often cramping to keep up.

Every few weeks, I would take two or three lined notebooks down to the furnace room and stuff them into the incinerator. I couldn't stand the thought of anyone knowing how I really felt. I would stand and watch as the flames consumed the pages, turning my words into ash.

There is nothing more powerful than words. Written or spoken. Words can inform, words can comfort, words can heal. Words can also wound, draw blood and eviscerate.

People who are careless with words frighten me. It's like watching someone juggle very sharp knives. You just know someone's going to get hurt, maybe fatally.

Then there are those who talk a lot but say very little. I call them the "Bafflegabbers." They relentlessly pelt you with a barrage of meaningless verbiage until you feel brain cells oozing out of your ears. Helplessly, you sign on the dotted line.

Last but certainly not least are the "Information Hogs." Their mocha operandi is to leave you in the dark until such time as they can manifest as The Only One Who Knows. Who can blame them? Information is power, after all, and the Hogs hoard it the way a miser clings to gold.

Information helps people understand their choices. It makes it possible for them to make knowledgeable decisions and take responsibility for their lives. It empowers.

I like to think of good communication as the twin sister of information. When done right, communication is an incredibly powerful tool for engagement. It lets us share information in so many different ways, keeping us connected over time and space. It brings us together in a way that is meaningful and essential. Like Jesus, good communication is the lifeblood that courses through our collective body, keeping us vital and alive and supporting right relations.

In the Anglican Church of Canada, we are blessed with a communication strategy that includes a national newspaper and 23 diocesan newspapers. …

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