A Lover of Words

Pastors should be philologists, and I don't mean in the technical sense but the etymological sense. They should love words (philo "love" and logos "word"). Pastors often love to read; they love to write. Some pastors especially love the words erupting from their own mouths. Pastors tend toward loquacity. Pastors should be philologists.  

The task of becoming a philologist requires collecting words. I've recently begun collecting them. Collecting words differs from hoarding them. A collector treasures each and every item in his collection. He often has stories for many of the items; he parts with a piece of the collection cautiously. Often times, a collector will return again and again to the same item, learning and treasuring each of its facets. A hoarder doesn't care about the items; he merely cares for the number of items, the quantity. For the hoarder, one piece carries has the same value as any other; he can exchange them without loss. The hoarder willingly trades one valuable item for two or three or ten cheap items. 

The comparison might take a romp through the worlds of fantasy and look at the differences between dwarves and dragons. The dwarf searches for jewels and precious metals to fashion them into things of beauty. The dragon merely collects treasure to sleep upon it.  

A Romanian cellar door, courtesy of Wikipedia

I've begun to collect words, not hoard them. Collecting words means learning about them, studying their past and dreaming of their future. Collecting words means having them at the ready for just the precise moment they're needed, not merely a vocabulary list to be memorized and regurgitated for the SAT exam. Some words I know well, but I collect them to know them better. Some words sit in my collection merely because they fascinate me; I can't say why. J. R. R. Tolkien, a true philologist in every sense of the word, loved the words "cellar door." It had a beauty to him. So also many in my collection. 

My collection is in a Field Notes brand notebook. It's a handy pocket notebook, but it's not the only one. There are some like this one or that one. They have enough space to collect one word per page: a space for the word, a definition, where I found it, and some examples of how to use it.  

I've enjoyed collecting words so much that I'm going to share my collection with you—and get some from you, dear readers. So, grab a pen, a notebook, and start collecting. Take any words from here that you like, and share some of your own. If you've got a word to share, email it to me, and, if you include permission to use it, I'll post it here. Include the essentials: the word, the definition, where you found it, and some examples of how to use it.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for sharing and collecting words with me.