More than the usual number of comments have been made related to my last post on “should” . I was told that “should” always leaves the hearer with a choice which the word “must” does not. Other friends sent me extended private messages which I value. The comments combined with my own research have given me an inner need to be less certain and more cautious in what I post lest I offend. You may click to read comments here.
My own understanding is that a word can not be fully defined without being in a a context. Speaker and hearer may think the same word but each may give it subtle, sometimes vastly different meanings. So unfortunate and unintended misunderstandings happen.
I recall a father saying to his son: You may cleanout the chicken house while I go to town if you want to, and adding, and you better want to. There was a powerful unspoken should in that father’s words. A sensitive boy heard and remembers it.
No two Borderlanders are the same. There are no twins. We come from different beginnings and are on different journeys with unknown endings. We are not confined to one ideology or to the past. We are free to explore, enjoy or retreat. We encourage doubt while searching for truth.
E. Stanley Jones was a missionary to intellectuals in India. He helped shape my own journey. In 1925 he wrote The Christ of the Indian Road which was judged by conservative Christians as a liberal undertaking. He also wrote Abundant Living, a daily devotional which my father read to the family for a year each morning before breakfast. As an adult I read his autobiography, Song of Ascents and The Divine Yes which was published posthumously.
Jones described scientists and theologians as climbing up different sides of the mountain of truth. He imagined that when they met at the peak they would be surprised to discover that they were both searching for and had found the same thing – truth. That’s my sci-tho-lo-gic-al hope.
Just a bit more about words. Should is listed with auxiliary verbs that are used to indicate likelihood, ability, permission, and obligation. Examples are can/could, may/might, must, will/would, and shall/should. A reader who wants to delve into the finer points among these words may search Wikipedia. Click here. (Note that must is included in the list of auxiliary verbs.)
“Should” read in context
is not confused with “you must”
when read in context