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Wednesday, January 16 2002

Word up

I'm no Greek scholar and haven't kept up my seminary Greek study, so I may prove my ineptitude here, but if so it won't be the first time. But this constitutes a logismos (dynamic thought form) in itself, so even if my guesses are wrong, this thought can serve to illustrate some of what we've been considering.

The Greek word logos is the best-known and, because it's also the most translated, explained and "exegeted" (interpreted) one, is the most widely used word from the original languages of the Bible. The best known Gospel, John's, begins: "In the beginning was the Logos and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God." The closest English equivalent of Logos is Word, capitalized to point out its double meaning, word in the sense of something spoken, but also Word as a name for the Son of God himself. It even has a third sense: "that by which all created being came into existence" (God spoke, and it was).

Though logismoi are studied by monastics and their lay disciples as thoughts that tempt and can undermine vision of God, its root is obviously logos, word. But as defined, it's not just a word as a singular simple entry in the dictionary, but word as gestalt, or word picture, word study, dynamic thought, idea. What words point beyond themselves to whole panoramas of meaning? Sunset? Lover? Classmates? Naked? Birthday? Christmas? Wedding? Funeral? Death? Any obscenity (is that why they're so "powerful"?)? 7-11?

"Word up" is a fascinating expression introduced in rap music patois, one of those "new" expressions that is instantaneously recognized for its simplicity yet its breadth and depth. It's "atten'hun" as the drill sergeant yells, "let us attend" as the traditional church liturgy repeatedly implores, "hear O Israel" in the prophets' utterances, "listen" and, just a few years back in a related patois, "listen up." What it means is identical in intent to Abbot Maximos' logismoi.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Definitions you won't find in the dictionary (logismoi?)

ADULT: A person who has stopped growing at both ends
and is now growing in the middle.

BEAUTY PARLOR: A place where women curl up and dye.

CANNIBAL: Someone who is fed up with people.

CHICKENS: The only creatures you eat before they are born
and after they are dead.

COMMITTEE: A body that keeps minutes and wastes hours.

DUST: Mud with the juice squeezed out.

—Sent by Mike Harrison

Thought for the day

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by
the seeds you plant.

—Robert Louis Stevenson

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