Examining Culture Through Words

The other night, while listening to a Christian radio station in my car, a DJ was talking about Google’s Ngram viewer. Google’s Ngram viewer has digitized data from over 15 million works of literature. The DJ made an intriguing insight. He took the position that words communicate culture. His logic was that changes in culture can be seen by both the emergence and frequency of words used over various time periods. If we believe the adage that we tend to speak about those things which occupy our thoughts, wouldn’t that apply to what we write as well? Most likely, right? Continue reading

Seeing Shadows

“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

The Importance of a Good Reputation

Scripture supports the rationale that a reputation should be greatly valued.  In the Old Testament, we are told that “the memory of the righteous is blessed,” while “the name of the wicked will rot (Proverbs 10:7 NASB).”  Proverbs 22:1 (NASB) further supports there being value in a good reputation; proclaiming that “a good name is to be more desired than great wealth.”

Given the importance appropriated to inheritance and family legacy within the entirety of Old Testament scripture (see Abraham, Isaac, David, etc.), a good reputation was (and is) highly valued within Jewish culture.  The New Testament, likewise, encourages Christians to place a high value on one’s reputation, as overseers (elders) “must be above reproach,” and “respectable (1 Timothy 3:2).”

That being said, what is a “good reputation?”  How shall it be defined for purposes of this note? Continue reading

Small Town Guy

Originally posted on Facebook–September, 2009

I am a small town guy.

I was born in the oldest seaport in the country. A place stuck in time, with an aging population committed to family and tradition. It is a love-hate relationship I hold with Gloucester. So beautiful, yet, so ugly. Henry Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Rudyard Kipling all spent significant time writing by Gloucester’s harborside. Fitz Hugh Lane, Winslow Homer, and Edward Hopper were all inspired to create priceless paintings that have kept the city’s captivating seascapes safe for the ages. Only years ago, however, did Gloucester once again obtain international notariety; this time for the infamous “pregnancy pact.” And like many small towns, news spreads faster than fire…

I am a small town guy. Continue reading