People of the Book
As Christians, we are people of the Book (people of the Book are adherents of Abrahamic religions that pre-date Islam). This morning in church our pastor led us in a powerful call to worship where we proclaimed ourselves to be People of the Book, people of the Word, people bound to the person of Truth, Jesus Christ. It was sweet to stand among fellow believers, Bibles raised, and proclaim our faith together.
Having just come off of two back-to-back conferences, where I’ve done nothing but breathe, sleep and think education, specifically classical, I had an epiphany.
The Power of Memory Work
When we memorize something, we are writing on the book of our minds and hearts. Last week, my son memorized and delivered 9 minutes of Patrick Henry’s speech, “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death.” I unabashedly chose the speech for him. I wanted him to own the beauty of Patrick Henry’s words, the profound theology, the courage and faith, of a man who was willing to lose everything for an idea, a hope, a dream… freedom.
He could have read the speech and enjoyed it and left it at that. But memorizing the speech and reciting it to an audience wrote the words on his heart, they are now part of the book of his life. He owns them forevermore.
Part of the sad state of our culture is due to the fact that we overview and use google-fu instead of memorize. We don’t take the time to intellectually own facts, scripture, speeches, plays or sermons through memory work. It’s like we’ve raised an entire generation of people who walk around with books full of blank pages. As a society we have lost the value of working memory. Working memory is the part of the memory responsible for holding and processing new information. In order to gain and process new information easily and well, we need a good working memory and the way we develop this is through memorization.
People of the Word- People of the Book
We are called to be People of the Word, and so we must never under-estimate the value of Words. We are also People of the Book. Do yourself, and your kids, a favor and write great words, awe-inspiring, profound words, in their hearts and minds- memorize- and encourage them to write a book worthy of being read!
If you don’t have any of your own great words yet, borrow some. Great men and women are always willing to share.