Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Is the Book of Common Prayer too wordy?

A friend who is an Episcopalian suggested that the Book of Common Prayer (the 1979 edition, which he has used for 30 years) is too wordy. He wondered if the Episcopal Church overloads people with too many words, too much spirituality.

What do you think?

The length of Episcopal services compares very unfavorably with the length of Tweets. Twitter accounts are now much more popular than are blogs, in part because Tweets are so much briefer.

Our culture is moving towards more video and more images, away from words.

Where in the Book of Common Prayer, now being considered for a possible revision, would you suggest cutting words? Where might images become a regular element of Episcopalian worship and services?

I look forward to your thoughts and comments.


Denise LeGendre said...

While single tweets tend to be short, misspelled and grammatically deficient, the sheer volume of Twitter posts surely is far more wordy than anything in the Book of Common Prayer. What I find is that the elegance and poetry of it's longer sentences give me room and time to think about what I'm doing as I follow the service. Is it too spiritual? Well, isn't that why we're there? There are plenty of other things one could be doing on a Sunday morning if not seeking the spiritual.

Jay Croft said...

Yes, it is too wordy. One thousand and one pages--that's ridiculous!

George Clifford said...

Proposed revisions tend to add rather than subtract from the length of the BCP. However, might be omit the psalms which are almost always included with the other readings in the bulletin or a leaflet? That might represent a via media, preserving the language while shortening the book.

Jay Croft said...

Denise, what do Twitter posts have to do with the BCP?

Donald Trump uses Twitter. I don't.

I use the BCP. I doubt that Donald Trump does.

Jay Croft said...

Keep the 39 Articles! I have served congregations of Deaf people for half a century. When the bean-counters want to shut these congregations down, I've quoted Article XXIV, plus the first sentence of the preface of the Baptismal rite, to keep the bean-counters at diocesan conventions in their place.

George Clifford said...

Jay, We disagree about the 39 Articles. I would omit all of the historical documents, even though I have a strong appreciation for Article XXIV.