Sorting by

Skip to main content

Caring for Words

By November 28, 2016 3 Comments

by Brian Keepers

It was almost a year ago that I joined The Twelve as a regular contributor—something I agreed to with a good amount of fear and trepidation. To be included in the company of such talented thinkers and writers still hits me as a strange and unexpected gift (and at times a heavy burden). It has stretched me and blessed me in ways for which I’m deeply grateful.

In her excellent book Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies, Marilyn Chandler McEntyre says this about the importance of language:

Caring for language is a moral issue. Caring for one another is not entirely separable from caring for words. Words are entrusted to us as equipment for our life together, to help us survive, guide, and nourish one another. We need to take the metaphor of nourishment seriously in choosing what we “feed on” in our hearts, and in seeking to make our conversation with each other life-giving.

MacEntyre captures so well what I love most about The Twelve – both as a writer and a reader. We are all striving to be faithful stewards of our words. We believe that words matter, that caring for language really is a moral issue. And so we want to use our words wisely and well in order that we might care for one another, nourish each other (even when we disagree) and provoke one another to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:25).

Perhaps now more than ever we need spaces like The Twelve where we can model a different kind of discourse than what we currently see in our polarized and verbally promiscuous society. A space where we are committed to learning to care for our language and for one another in such a way that tells the truth in love, avoids cliché and propaganda, makes room for seeing things differently, and feeds our hearts and minds with good things.

Thank you for being a faithful reader of The Twelve and for adding to the conversation with your own comments. If you, too, have been blessed by The Twelve, please consider making a financial gift to support our work. We are largely a volunteer run enterprise with minimal resources, so every gift matters. Your generosity will go a long way in helping us continue to provide “good food” for minds and hearts.

[callout type=”left” title=”Financially Support The Twelve!” message=”Supporting The Twelve and Perspectives Journal is easier than ever! Get started by clicking on the following button to give a one-time donation today!” button_text=”Donate Today!” href=”” target=”blank”]

Brian Keepers is the minister of preaching and congregational leadership at Fellowship Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan.


  • Jan says:

    Could you send this as a tweet to Trump? And to some other politicians while you are at it.

    • Brian Keepers says:

      Thanks, Jan. I’d love to send him (and others) McEntyre’s book! Or maybe I could tweet parts of it!

      • I read Marilyn McEntyre’s book three years ago but have just taken it out again. The theoretical misuse of language and its consequences seem less so today. She wrote the book pre-Tweet and now we are into “post-truth.” If we didn’t see the abuses of language before, we certainly see them now–every day. “…millions of people voted illegally…” “I won…in a landslide…”
        We need “The Twelve!”

Leave a Reply