Gleanings: Breathing Spaces

A meditation from Martin Copenhaver, pastor of Wellesly UCC, in Wellesley, Ma….

“In our already overcrowded lives, another space is being taken away.

When I was learning to type, I was taught that you should have two spaces after a period before starting a new sentence. Now we are told, by no less an arbiter than The Chicago Manual of Style, that one space is the norm. The primary reason they cite for preferring a single space is efficiency. Of course, it all comes down to efficiency, as so much seems to these days. They conclude that typing two spaces “is inefficient, requiring an extra keystroke for every sentence.” An extra keystroke? Well, that is simply too much to ask, don’t you think?

But I think we need to be fighting for more space, not less. Space gives us breathing room, which is another way of saying that space allows for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. J.R.R. Tolkien told the story of correcting student essays, when he came upon a blank page among the papers. He stared at it for a moment and then wrote upon it, “In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit.” It just came to him like a revelation. And that’s how he started his book, The Hobbit, the novel that leads into The Lord of the Rings trilogy. But for that inspiration, he needed that blank page, just a little space between all of those words.

Just a little space. The Holy Spirit can work with that.”

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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