There’s a great scene in Amadeus when the Emperor is prompted by the disgruntled Salieri to tell an over-excited Mozart that his latest piece “has too many notes; just take some notes out”. It sometimes seems that there are too many words in a world drowning in noise and shouting for attention.
So, I was pleased to see how the Fabio Capello story was picked up recently. He has limited English (and how dare English journalists deride him for his poor English when knowledge by journalists of any language other than English is extremely rare) and is reported to have said that he only needs 100 words to do his team-talks:
If I need to speak about the economy or other things, I can’t speak… But when you speak about tactics, you don’t use a lot of words. I don’t have to speak about a lot of different things. Maximum 100 words.
What a star! And he makes a serious point. As Twitter has proved, much can be communicated in very few words and very little space. The concision concentrates the mind and excises the waffle. Fewer words can create better communication. On Pause for Thought on Radio 2’s Chris Evans Show we are allowed around 320 words with which to grab the attention, tease the imagination, say something and give a pay-off back into the programme.
I know I have mused on this matter many times before, but I wonder what sort of ‘team talk’ I could give to the Church in 100 words. Something that captures the ‘big picture’, earths it and encourages action/response. Here’s one for starters:
It’s all about God taking us and the world seriously. The Church is called to live life so that the world can see who and how God is – which looks like Jesus. God opts into the world as it is and does not exempt himself from it. So, live in the world, love it and open up to it the possibility of a different way. Start with you and yours. (71 words)
The former Bishop of Durham, David Jenkins, did even better in summarising the Creed memorably as:
God is. God is as he is in Jesus. So, there is hope.
Further submissions welcome (but not on a postcard).