Run Like it Matters
For every issue of Wheaton magazine, the challenge comes down to this: Arrange almost a quarter of a million characters into about 35,000 words; and then place these words into sentences that become paragraphs that become articles that hopefully interest, inspire, inform, and motivate readers.
It’s inevitable that something will go wrong. Edit, proof, and proof again—still, typos and ambiguities have a way of cropping up. And yet, despite the mistakes and shortcomings of the magazine (and its editors), Wheaton remains the primary source from which alumni get their information about the College (“Wheaton College Alumni Participation Research,” C. Grant and Co., 2007).
Among the 35,000 words in this issue, you’ll find stories of Wheaton alumni who have courageously used, and are using, words in powerful ways; such as, to speak up for the rights of the unborn, to defend religious freedom, to advocate for Alzheimer’s or cancer research, or to urge action against prostitution and sex trafficking. One alumnus represents Liberia as its consul general in the U.S.; another teaches believers around the world to produce Christian literature; and another mentors student–athletes with the message of the gospel.
Ah, the wonder and importance of words. President Emeritus Duane Litfin HON writes about them in his recent book, Word Versus Deed:
God’s revelation came to us, after all, not only in the living Word Jesus Christ, but in the written Word, the Scriptures. What’s more, the use of the verbal code lies at the heart of what it means to be human, so much so that we can scarcely imagine life and society without it. We require language to speak of other people, places, and times; or to make statements that can be proven true or false. . . . We use the verbal code to express policies or to urge actions. . . . And most wonderful of all, each of these verbal functions can be combined to produce complex analyses, explanations, and arguments. The ability to use words lies at the center of what it means to be human.
(Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012, 33-34.)
But there’s the rub: the very humanness of our language. Yet in spite of our sin-filled mindsets and meager abilities to communicate well—if at all—the Lord entrusts believers with the proclamation of the Good News.
Even in our prayers we can’t get it right. When distress, pain, and grief leave us speechless; when the accuser must be silenced; when our cries for mercy fall far short; when a loved one is lost; when indescribable joy overflows from our grateful hearts; when His grace takes our breath away; when we don’t know what to ask or where to begin—it is the Holy Spirit who must speak for us, interceding with groanings too deep for words, in a language known only to the God of our salvation (Romans 8:26, nasb).
Georgia I. Douglass '70, M.A. '94
To view the magazine, please visit Wheaton Magazine Autumn 2012 >>