Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rhetoric for Sundays

This last week, while driving between Waco and Fort Worth, my wife and I saw a billboard which read

"Repent Christians"

We were intrigued.  The message was so simple, so brief.  This billboard took advantage of the rhetorical figure of brevitas.  The Rhetorica ad Herennium defines brevitas as "expressing an idea in the very minimum of essential words"

Yet, perhaps the message of billboard was too brief.  In our culture, this billboard could mean almost anything.  It could be a message from Atheists to Christians, condemning them for any number of atrocities that they are accused of.  Or, it could be a group of fundamentalists or "purists" attempting to reform the church.  So, which was it?

There was a website listed on the billboard,

It turns out to be the latter, a group of Christians puritans who think that the church right now is not pure enough.  The website cites statistics of various impurities among the "born again." 

The billboard?  Intriguing in its rhetorical brevity.  The message?  I leave that up to you.

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