A word about abbreviations

by Penrod

I’m against them. I do not live in PA or MN or IL. I live in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, or Illinois. Isn’t that a lot better?

Am I a member of the ECC? What’s the ECC? Some important commission? Clearly a bureaucratic entity of some sort. Or do I belong to the Covenant? Ah, so ambiguous. What do you mean? What Covenant? Even at this level of ambiguity it is clearly something positive—something of meaning to me if not to a stranger. Covenant means something.

“Covenant Church.”

“What’s that?”

(Maybe it is better to say ECC. Fewer people are likely to ask. Fewer will be interested.)

“Well, its a small group, a small church, about a 100,000 or so members in the United States. It started in Sweden among people who wanted more spiritual and personal depth in their lives and faith than they got in the state Lutheran Church by itself. They liked to get together in the evenings to sing and read the Bible and talk.”

“Do you still do that?”

“Sometimes. Some people. Whether we do or not, we claim the same attitudes about freedom and the importance of personal life.”

You may have been in conversations like this. They can lead in many different directions. After a while, interest usually wanes.

Maybe it would be easier to say ECC. It can save a lot of trouble. But if someone is inquisitive or polite or whatever and asks what ECC means, you may be down the path again and now face an additional step.

But here’s the thing. As you can see, I am very old fashioned and conservative. Those of you who have read this column through the years (if there are any such persons) know this is true. Give me real names. They are much less abstract. We already have more “abstract” than is good for us.

I know it takes discipline. It takes quite a bit more to write out Pennsylvania (Ohio by contrast is a breeze) but isn’t it worth it? Penn—the great William Penn, a wonderful spirit, a Quaker who was one-hundred-percent for peace and for living with and for your neighbor. Sylvan—the green forests and hills that make the state so lovely and were a great unexplored wilderness to the early settlers.

I think it is tough to get all this good stuff from PA.

Penrod says that, in thinking about him, one should think first of Booth Tarkington's Penrod, the boy writer, and then of the mighty pen of Martin Luther with its power like unto the rod of Aaron.

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