The Reluctant Sesquipedalian

Chapter 34

Are windy words now at an end? Job 16.3

Do you ever find yourself in a situation like this, as mentioned in Job 16:3, where windy words seem never-ending?

I’m not sure how many meetings you’ve attended lately, but I’ve been in a few myself. Sometimes, there’s great delight in lengthy speeches, sermons, and inputs filled with well-articulated arguments, long sentences, and various forms of repetition. On the other hand there are times you sit there and start to ponder Job 16:3, wondering if those windy words will finally cease.

Yet, it’s a paradox—I have an affinity for long, intricate speeches with meticulously chosen words that precisely convey meanings, accurately capturing something or a situation. At times, I feel like this: “His sesquipedalian speech left us, the audience, bewildered”…

As with this blog and some of the posts – I’m sure it’s come to your mind as well ….

A “sesquipedalian” is a term used to describe a long word or a person who uses long words. The term itself originates from the Latin word “sesquipedalis,” which means “a foot and a half long.” In essence, a sesquipedalian word is characterized by its excessive length and complexity.

So now we find ourselves pondering: when are speeches that are “a foot and a half long” beneficial, and when are they not? When do they captivate our interest, and when do we perceive them as mere windy words or overly extended narratives? Furthermore, when does the speaker seem to be squandering our time due to an affection for the chosen words, relishing the act of communication?

Am I currently engaging in sesquipedalian behavior? Am I winding on about words, terms, and long speeches? Where is this blog or this specific post headed, and what precisely am I endeavoring to convey?

Back to Job; In chapter 16 he applies sesquipedalian and poignant language to vividly depict his profound suffering. He articulates divine assaults upon him, perceiving a grievous turning away from God and enduring severe wounds. Job shares a profound sense of hopelessness, encapsulating the sensation of being ensnared within his agonizing affliction. Much later in In Job 42, Job acknowledges his limited understanding and repents for questioning God’s wisdom. He humbles himself before God’s greatness and sovereignty.

We’re making significant strides and are truly gaining momentum now! As we shift away from this sesquipedalian approach, we find immense value in consistently acknowledging our limitations. A steadfast sense of humility remains integral. The significance of having faith in God’s complete restoration cannot be overstated. Our dedication to fostering a change in attitude and embracing enhancement should endure, prevailing as a prominent theme across all texts, speeches, sermons, and inputs.

Returning to the idea of being long-winded, there is certainly a suitable time and context for it. Being meticulous in our choice of words and delivering sesquipedalian speeches also holds significance. However, it’s important to consider the time, attitude, and humility embedded within the sesquipedalian speech.

Here are two notably sesquipedalian examples collected from newspapers:

Even the sesquipedalian Mr T, I would argue, is ultimately of this school; he builds his many-splendored, polysyllabic words into towers of Babel that ultimately collapse under the weight of their own inadequacy.

Their poverty of thought can not be long disguised in flamboyant rhetoric and sesquipedalian words, and hence they fail to carry conviction to serious-minded men.
Kleiser, Grenville

Numerous reformers and renowned orators possessed the unique ability to eschew sesquipedalian tendencies. Take, for instance, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, whose style prioritized accessibility over sesquipedalianism. Consider his thought-provoking assertion:

“Do you realize that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?”

Thanks for enduring with me over all these years! If I once put all these texts into a book it might make a good title – Warapunga Monday Morning Blog – Philemon the reluctant sesquipedalian.

Is this the conclusion? Does this signal the end of the Monday Morning blog? I’m uncertain, yet there’s a distinct sensation (gut feeling) that I’ve poured out my thoughts for several years, leading you on extensive journeys of contemplation or more plainy said, like endless rants, perpetual outbursts, long and continuous venting with persistant approaches to certain topics. At time even from ceaseless critiques of certain matters to fervent endorsements of others, perhaps it’s a juncture for a momentary pause.

God, the creator of all, perpetually engages in creation and recreation. Whether embracing the intricacies of sesquipedalianism or harnessing the might of simplicity, He exemplifies divine artistry. Communication stands as an art, just as listening is an exquisite gift. Allow me, dear reader, to offer this encouragement anew. It is within dialogue and within attentive hearing that the synergy of these two disciplines flourishes.

This merger unfolds not only within human relationships but also within the act of engaging with the sacred text. It is found in the interplay of reading the Bible, deciphering its depths, and heeding the resonances of God’s voice.

Wishing you a great start to this new week!

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