Bob Tamasy: Pen Mightier Than A Sword? Um, What’s A Pen?

Thursday, February 7, 2019 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

As a writer, pens have been as important for my “toolbox” as hammers for a carpenter, wrenches for a plumber, brushes for a painter, or a scalpel for a surgeon. Despite technological advances, pens remain for me welcomed companions.

I learned to type in high school. Then in journalism school we were taught to compose stories with fingers on the keys. At this very moment, sitting at a computer, my thoughts coalesce much more easily once my fingertips connect with the keyboard. Nevertheless, keyboards haven’t entirely replaced pens for writing.

Since tape recorders aren’t always dependable, whenever I interview someone for an article or a book, I resort to pen and notepad. More than one pen, because most don’t come with “low on ink” alerts.

So when I see or hear news reports about schools no longer teaching cursive writing, it’s sad. Just think of the things we are losing: "pen" pals; meaning for the saying, "The pen is mightier than the sword"; authors with "pen names." But what we're losing most is the capacity for thoughtful expression, presented in our unique form and style, known as penmanship.

With computers, smartphones and tablets we quickly click off our communications. Sometimes too quickly. We blurt (through fingertips) what’s on our minds, hit “Send,” and at the speed of cyberspace, it’s off to the intended audience. Sometimes with unintended consequences. If we’d paused to consider what we were transmitting and its potential impact, we might have waited. Speed and convenience aren’t ideal determinants for effective communication.

But what’s best about handwriting is its personal touch and distinctiveness. Someone else could sit at my computer and write you an email on my behalf, and you might not be the wiser. Same with texts from my iPhone. But if I take the time and energy to sit, pen in hand, and write a personal note or (gasp!) a full letter, you could probably tell it was from me. It’s unlikely anyone would forge my writing to send you a thank-you note.

There’s one more reason I mourn when I hear about kids no longer being taught cursive writing. Some of the most important documents of mankind were written by hand: The Magna Carta. Our U.S. Constitution. Can you imagine, years from now, students – and politicians – unable to read the Constitution because they can’t read in cursive? Maybe that’s already happening.

The Bible in its original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic languages was written and painstakingly copied by hand, then translated into English in the same way. The Ten Commandments were handwritten too – by the hand of God.

Handwriting was used to demonstrate legitimacy of the scriptural documents. In a letter to believers in the Greek city of Thessalonica, the apostle Paul noted, “I, Paul, write these greetings in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters This is how I write” (2 Thessalonians 3:17). To the church in the city of Colossae, he penned these words: “I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you” (Colossians 4:18).

To Christ followers in Galatia, Paul wrote, “See what large letters I use as I write to you in my own hand!” (Galatians 6:11). And consider how much the written Word was cherished even in the early Church: “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11). No printing presses back then.

The Old Testament gives examples of Israelite leaders remembering God’s decrees and faithfulness as they read time-honored, handwritten prophecies passed down through the generations. This sometimes prompted them to lead their headstrong people to repentance.

We even find examples of prophets who consumed the words of God. For example, the prophet Jeremiah wrote, “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God Almighty” (Jeremiah 15:16).

This isn’t telling us to physically consume the pages of our Bibles, but we should internalize the truths God has given us through His Word. And just think: its original writings weren’t delivered via email, Word document, text or smartphone app. The Lord cared enough to make sure they were written to us personally, by hand.

“Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21).

So, seems to me it’s not a good idea to curse cursive writing. If anything, in these depersonalized times, the more personal we can be, the better.

- - - -

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly re-published, “Business At Its Best,” “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. To read more of Bob Tamasy’s writings, you can visit his blog, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, or his website (now being completed), www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.


Steve Ellison: The Money In The Hand

"Celebration Of The Victory In Jesus Christ" Offered At Middle Valley Church Of God On Sunday

Salvation Army Offers Easter Sunrise Service At The National Cemetery


In the middle of Proverbs chapter 17 there is an odd little question. Verse 16 asks, “Of what use is money in the hand of a fool, since he has no desire to get wisdom?” (NIV) The NASU asks it ... (click for more)

Middle Valley Church of God, at 1703 Thrasher Pike in Hixson, announced that Pastor Mitch McClure will lead a "Celebration of the Victory in Jesus Christ" on Sunday, April 21, at 10:30 a.m. ... (click for more)

The Salvation Army continues a decades old tradition with an Easter Sunrise Service on Sunday at the National Cemetery in Chattanooga. Those attending should arrive around 6:30 a.m. The service ... (click for more)


Church

Steve Ellison: The Money In The Hand

In the middle of Proverbs chapter 17 there is an odd little question. Verse 16 asks, “Of what use is money in the hand of a fool, since he has no desire to get wisdom?” (NIV) The NASU asks it a different way, “Why is there a price in the hand of a fool to buy wisdom, when he has no sense?” I look around and I see vast amounts of resources being wasted. I see genuine fools with so ... (click for more)

"Celebration Of The Victory In Jesus Christ" Offered At Middle Valley Church Of God On Sunday

Middle Valley Church of God, at 1703 Thrasher Pike in Hixson, announced that Pastor Mitch McClure will lead a "Celebration of the Victory in Jesus Christ" on Sunday, April 21, at 10:30 a.m. The celebration will include a specially selected gift for all in attendance, special music from the church choir and a special message, "He Finally Got Us The Victory" by Pastor Mitch McClure. ... (click for more)

Breaking News

TDOT Plans To Add 1 Lane In Each Direction To I-24 From Georgia State Line To US 27; New Section Of Apison Pike To Be Widened

The state plans to add one lane in each direction to a seven-mile section of Interstate 24, which is one of the most congested freeways in the country. The purchase of right of way for the project is included in TDOT’s annual three year transportation program. Right of way is listed for 2022 in a section between the Georgia state line and Brown's Ferry Road and another ... (click for more)

Man, 50, Shot In Road Rage Incident On Bailey Avenue; Christopher Bell, 29, Wanted For Attempted Criminal Homicide

A man, 50, was shot on Bailey Avenue on Thursday afternoon, and Christopher Bell, 29, is wanted for criminal attempted homicide. At approximately 3:20 p.m. Chattanooga Police were dispatched to a person shot call at 1050 Bailey Ave. Upon arrival, officers located a man suffering from a gunshot wound. The man stated to police that he and the suspect were involved in a vehicle ... (click for more)

Opinion

Save The Wildlife, Mr. Berke

Why in the world would there be any question regarding the wildlife at East Lake park, and the humane relocation of same? Why would anyone need to beg for the right thing to be done? Maybe if the ducks could ride scooters, there would be money for this. Or maybe if they had means to pay for one of the so-called affordable apartments we have in Chattanooga, they would rate the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: What's 'Good' About It?

For the biggest part of my life (a real long time) I refused to acknowledge what is “good” about Good Friday. Today, in literally every country on earth, it is ‘Good Friday’ and, nope, nothing is “good” about killing my Jesus. Forget that it is the most singular display of His love for me, and I push all of the human race aside, to stand completely alone, and feel Jesus’ eyes on ... (click for more)