The Plague of Bad Typography

Remember the Plagues of Egypt? Well, I bet you can’t actually. Indeed, there is a reasonable chance that if you bet any mildly inebriated bunch of divinity students a pint of something nice that they cannot name all the plagues in order you will have a pleasant evening. (Next week go back and ask them to name the 12 apostles).

Anyway, one of the plagues which the Lord visited upon his people, which is often forgotten, but which affects us terribly to this day is the Plague of Bad Typography. In this aspect of our common life, I must genuflect to those many Evangelicals who have been healed of this plague and produce excellent publicity material for their church. So very many of us who are not known Evangelicals struggle in this area. As for me, I must testify before you all, that I am a born again font geek.

Indeed, it has always seemed to me that if we could only format all our documents properly once and for all and put the right font in the right place, then all would bow the knee and be welcomed at last into the Kingdom.

Of course, I am not always believed.

My frustration over these things can lead to trouble. Picture the hissy fit that erupted when I looked earlier in the week at the Scottish Episcopal Church’s website and found the Word files that had been uploaded which contain our version of Daily Prayer.

They are horrid. They do not use styles. If you don’t know what that means, then repent, even though it is not Lent and go, go now, and find out. If more of God’s people did that, then we would have fewer documents released with 17 tabs per line, bad page-breaks, inconsistent formatting and so on. You want people to come (back) to your church? Go and learn about styles in Microsoft Word. Bizarrely these things are not taught in theological colleges as they are short of time, having to teach us how to heal the sick and raise the dead.

The most important change in our mission at St Mary’s that I have introduced is putting the whole liturgy (hymns, music, notices and the whole bang shoot) into one bookie. Every part of the liturgy is in the right order too. No odd page turns. No scraps of paper. It makes a difference. And yes, I know it is not green. Neither is running churches that are empty because all the people have fled in confusion and bewilderment.

Anyway, when the hissy fit died down, I decided to see how I would format Daily Prayer.

You see the trouble is, people come along to Morning Prayer and then just get lost. They have to turn to the right page, then find the right psalm then turn back to the first bit, then turn to the Benedictus which is in three different places, then they don’t have a collect and it all ends in tears. They don’t come back. They are the Lost.

So what would save this situation? Well, here is my offering of Morning Prayer for next week.

Compare and contrast

My version, with the official version.

My version is a large file. No apologies, it needs to be. There may be some inconsistencies, and it may display differently on your computer to mine. But it uses styles, which means that you can reformat the whole thing to your satisfaction yourself. Can’t you?

Can you do better? If you can, do.