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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Monday, June 11 2001

Writing voices

I had planned to start discussing friendships today, but the news of Trevor Rowson's passing makes that too difficult to delve just now. So instead I'll put up some leftover thoughts from Saturday's entry.

My remark that last Thursday's entry was in a different kind of voice than the prevalent one here suggests a few supportive points. When I wrote Thursday's piece, "About not living in the past," my primary audience was the small group of writers gathered in my friend's living room, all of whom were in turn writing their pieces that we would share. I wanted to introduce Nanty Glo to the writers in 300 words or less.

On the other hand, the normal Jonal entry is addressed to an amorphous audience of Blacklick Valley people, most of whom don't currently live in the Valley, who know as much or more than I about the Valley, present and past. The line at top, "Good Morning Nanty Glo," sets the tone or the pitch of my writing voice for the normal day. There are fewer than 100 receiving the Jonal entries daily now, and no doubt a large proportion of them don't read them faithfully. Moreover, I've got to know some of you, or think I do, through your emails over recent weeks or even years, and can guess what you like and what's going to strike a chord. I had much less information about the half dozen writers, but did know that even though we were pledged to "be kind" in our comments after reading, we would all be pretty sophisticated critics.

I gave this second and third thoughts because of something I read, again, in one of the books by New Testament scholar Timothy Luke Johnson, about whom I've written here several times earlier. In discussing the fact that the New Testament begins with four major introductions of Jesus, called the Gospels, and that they vary in some significant ways, Johnson reported that in the years when the church was being established, this was quite controversial and some great minds considered it almost scandalous. Plato's axiom "all truth is one" seemed to mitigate having more than one version of the Gospel. At least two writers who lived just after the evangelists who wrote the Gospels tried to meld them into a single book that showed literary and historical consistency throughout.

But Johnson said, and I agree, that the presentation of the Gospel in four unique "takes" is writing God's Word in four "voices" that different "sheep" (to borrow a Gospel metaphor) will respond to, thus maximizing the impact of the one overarching message (which, to Johnson, and me, is "Jesus lives"). In opposition to "Jesus scholars" in the current academic fad who find the New Testament unbelievable because of such "flaws," Johnson says it is rather the genius of the church that it stood against the opponents of a plurality of voices with the Gospel and instead canonized a New Testament with four Gospels, four voices preaching one Jesus Christ.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

The Top 40 Things You Will Never Hear A Southern Boy Say

30. Wrestlin's fake.
29. Honey, did you mail that donation to Greenpeace?
28. We're vegetarians.
27. Do you think my gut is too big?
26. I'll have grapefruit and grapes instead of biscuits and gravy.

Sent by Mike Harrison

Three more to grow on

"Government should stop trying to make life fair for its 'subjects.' Fairness is not an institutional value that can be dictated from on high; it is a personal value that we are to demonstrate to one another." Ron Strom
"People love the past. It provides convenient excuses for all manner of individual or group shortcomings." Dr. Walter Williams
"If you want to make ends meet, start by getting off yours!" Dr. Kenneth MacFarland

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