Sunday, December 30, 2012

Data Driven: 2012

As a scientist, data is sacrosanct.  You don't add to it, subtract from it.   Data calls for a contemplative stance, one that is willing to listen to what the data is saying, rather than what one wants to hear.

In a recent conversation with a friend, I wished that the Catholic Church (and by this I mean not just the hierarchy, but the people in the pews and on the blogs as well!)  were more attentive to what it could learn from data.  The religious life may seem like a solely subjective endeavor, but if it encompasses the whole of who we are, it must perforce treat of the objective and even the numerical.

In that spirit, for the last few years (2011, 2010, 2009) I've dumped the previous twelve months' worth of posts into a word cloud generator to get an objective view of what I'm writing about.  My output is consistently between sixty and seventy thousand words (62,756 this year), a post appearing on average every couple of days.  And what do I write about in this space?  Time. My guys:  Crash and The Boy. Silence and prayer.  God.

I enjoy the accidental collisions of words in these word pictures:  take/hear/God or life/silence/time or in the year where we did so much house rennovation — look/house/good!

Not the goods of the world, but God.
Not riches, but God.
Not honors, but God.
Not distinction, but God.
Not dignities, but God.
Not advancement, but God.
God always and in everything.  — St. Vincent Pallotti


  1. OK, how did you do that? Earlier this evening, I finally managed to get a wordle from the wordle site onto a blog post, but only a very tiny one. When I try to enlarge it, it becomes too blurry to read.

  2. Amen! I am grateful for how you share so much here,so generously and so very wisely.

    And yes - how did you do that? I can never even get as far as Robin gets! Maybe you can offer us a wordle tutorial?

  3. Julianne.5:57 AM

    I did a similar thing with Galatians a while ago, when I was preparing a bible study. After God, Christ and Jesus came the words Law and Faith, which shows what Paul was getting at! Slightly less words in that letter than in your blog, however!

    1. That would be a fascinating exercises with various texts...I wonder what Isaiah would look like!

  4. This is fascinating. When we look at things in this light, we learn what is truly important or at least what has been emphasized. I would also be interested in learning how to do that. Imagine if a person did this with his/her sermons for a year or if we could do it with our conversations - what do we spend so much time talking about? Do we give God enough air-time? Thanks very much for opening up some possibilities.

    1. It can be pretty interesting to see what I say, and what I think I say!

  5. Fran and Robin...I'll see what I can do to give some clear directions on Wordling!

  6. Michelle, I love your "God Time" wordle