Declamation Speech – January 25th, 2024.

Is the sword mightier than the pen?

I think actions speak louder than words. The only reason I wrote the speech with a pen is because I don’t want to be scared of following through and acting with a sword.  Right now, me standing up here is me holding a sword, because swords symbolize action and pens merely symbolize the promise of action.

Now someone’s going to say that the pen is mightier because it’s able to move people to action. it’s an evoker of emotion, a mover of people, it’s a rational force. The pen is an expression of our creative side and the fact that we can write is something that shows our separation from the beasts. It’s a reflection of our soul and it’s one way that we create in the image of our Creator. Sword-deniers say things like oh, the sword just demonstrates our inherent violence, just like animals. Tigers have their fangs, men have their scimitars and AK-47’s. But think about this, God spoke us into existence, yes. He used words. But after he spoke, something happened. God spoke the words and then those words were acted upon. The sword symbolizes action, and without action, nothing would be accomplished. 

If words are the sparks that ignite the fire, and they’re the winds that fan the flames, then swords are the branches that actually give the fire substance. While there’d be no fire without the pen, that same fire could not live, could not continue to grow without the sword. Think of a revolution, any revolution, but mostly think about the American revolution, since that’s something that we actually care about. If we’d only had orators to speak and say things like, “this is outrageous,” and, you know, “it’s a crime against humanity that we have to pay these taxes and be so oppressed,” and everyone just sat there and listened to them, but didn’t do anything – would we be free today? Swords win battles, words just start them and confuse them and (sometimes) end them.

This may be an unpopular opinion, but I think that the sword-as a metaphor of action-I think the sword brings clarity to situations that are made foggy by too many words. I mean, haven’t you ever been caught up in a conversation with some emotional woman and it gets so wordy and twisted up in word games that everyone’s just talking past each other, and everything is confused? Sometimes don’t you feel like the only thing that would just get some sense into these people, into this person, would be a good shake, or a good pop upside the head? It’s worked on me before when I was too wrapped up in my words to think straight.

Dramatic action is not forbidden to Christians. Jesus flipped over tables in the temple. The Israelites marched around Jericho, and the walls fell down. The promised land was entered by the grace of God, and by force. In our time, Dietrich Bonhoeffer planned to try and and execute a mass murderer. The sword is not forbidden from us, rather, it is the means by which we execute justice, justice which is laid out for us in words.

The sword is mightier because it is the necessary outcome of the pen. It’s the fulfillment of what the pen can only promise.

It’s mightier, because, for another reason, it affects all men. The pen tends to mostly affect the literate, or the educated. The sword? Affects everyone. Even the most ignorant person or the tiniest baby – even they feel fear at the thought of being physically harmed, or something being taken from them. But they could care less about what you’re writing about them. Words only affect you if you can understand them, and if people act upon them. Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me. And the thing is, people almost always will default to action over retorting with words. 

To demonstrate, my opponents are ridiculously smart. I’m sure they’ve written some fantastic and persuasive words, but seriously, go to one of them and unjustly and rudely insult their mother. I can guarantee you that their first impulse will be to punch you. Of course, these boys’ Christian long-suffering and their forgiveness probably would overcome their desire to just whop you a good one. But that doesn’t change the fact that if they weren’t Christians, their might would definitely overcome your words.

Speaking in terms of just plain might, words ain’t gonna stop a nuke. In the worst situations (thinking of the worst-case scenario) talking can’t save you from anything. It is only action, and the right action that will save you. Again, the sword symbolizes action, while the pen only promises the idea of action.

We are a Christian people, and Christians do not stand by and chat about how horrible the world is, and then write pretty blog posts about how we could fix it. We go out and we act. We love our friends and our enemies, we give our food to starving people, we hug our friends and the people who don’t have friends, we “remove” unjust and evil governments and replace them with something just a little bit closer to heaven. Our action is the way we show the world what God did for us. He didn’t just give us his Word, he gave us his son, who acted and who died. Don’t just say God is great and leave it at that. Go out, actually live the life given to you, and die for the Lord.