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Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 2009 / Paperback

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Product Description

Deception and "spin" have become hallmarks of public discourse in our consumer-driven, politically charged society. How can we preserve the vitality and integrity of the written and spoken word? Offering 12 "strategies of stewardship," McEntyre reflects on the complexities of truth telling, importance of challenging lies, art of conversation, place of playfulness, and more. 176 pages, softcover from Eerdmans.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 176
Vendor: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Publication Date: 2009
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0802848648
ISBN-13: 9780802848642
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

"Like any other life-sustaining resource," says Marilyn McEntyre, "language can be depleted, polluted, contaminated, eroded, and filled with artificial stimulants." Today more than ever, language needs to be rescued and restored. Drawing on a wide range of sources, both critical and literary, Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies is an engaging address to everyone concerned with preserving the vitality and precision of the spoken and written word.

 "If every literate person in the United States read this book, the result could dramatically transform our society. . . . Written with modesty, keen insight, and grace, Marilyn McEntyre’s Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies proposes a revolution of human expression that would bring precision, honesty, and felicity to the spoken and written discourse of contemporary culture.
 

Author Bio

Marilyn McEntyre is professor of English at Westmont College, Santa Barbara, California. She has written dozens of articles and reviews in such journals as The Washington Post, Theology Today, Journal of the American Medical Association, and Christianity Today. She is also the author of Dwelling in the Text and A Healing Art: Regeneration through Autobiography.

Author Bio

Marilyn Chandler McEntyre is a fellow of the Gaede Institute of Liberal Arts at Westmont College, Carmichael, California. She writes frequently for Weavings and her other publications include Christ, My Companion and The Color of Light.

Publisher Description

Concern for the abuse, misuse, inflation, and depletion of language is by no means new. Indeed, Orwell and Steiner both issued warnings on the topic linking the state of language to dominant political agendas which may seem strangely prophetic to contemporary Americans. In Caring for the Word, Marilyn Chandler McEntyre’s reflections on public discourse begin with similar concerns and then move into possible solutions.

McEntyre begins by inviting readers to recognize the forces that affect language in America culture. She examines the many ways in which commercial and political special interests have co-opted and expropriated language, leading to widely tolerated forms of deception and spin. She then offers twelve “strategies of stewardship” for those concerned with preserving the vitality and precision of the spoken and written word. These strategies include reflections on the complexities of truth telling, the importance of challenging lies, the art of conversation, and the importance of playfulness.

Drawing on a wide range of sources — both critical and literary — Caring for the Word is addressed not solely to academics or professionals, but to all thoughtful users of language in an attempt to remind them of its essential character as a gift and a calling.

Editorial Reviews

Christian Century
"Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies, Marilyn Chandler McEntyre's book on the stewardship of language, is a wonderfully composed treatise. . . If you wonder whether caring for words is worth the effort, consider McEntye's reasoning to a young student: 'Language is the basic tool for preserving civilization. It seems useful to understand as much as we can about how it works since it's arguably one of the most potent forms of power that society has produced — that and the atom-splitter.'"

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  1. Hoffman Estates, IL
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    This book inspires & promotes attention to words.
    June 6, 2013
    MotherBaby Nurse
    Hoffman Estates, IL
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Marilyn C. McEntyre fears that we are in danger of losing the depth of language as we text, tweet and rely on soundbites. Throughout the book the she refers to the Bible, classic books and poetry, sketching the idea of ingesting words. Her book was a meal with many courses for me.

    I had to read slowly, soaking in the wisdom of an English professor who has a love of language. I learned something about poetry and the value of poetic thought. Poets cherish words. McEntyre explains the good use of words, calling it reclamation. She writes: "Everyone who writes with care, who treats words with respect and allows even the humblest its historical and grammatical dignity, participates in the exhilarating work of reclamation."

    I will read the chapter on poetry again.

    The last chapter offers reflections on silence. McEntyre writes: "Silence is to words what water is to the body and to the earth. Words, like food, nourish and support life in ways that reach beyond metaphor to solid fact. But it is in our silences that digestive and regenerative processes can take place."

    This book encourages reading and attentiveness to words. I feel blessed that I grew up in a home where we read the Bible together and visited the library regularly. Now reading books with the grandchildren gives me joy. We should take every opportunity to assist the next generation to value the Bible and good books.
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