“The proper definition of a man is an animal that writes letters.” (Lewis Carroll)
Well, that may be going a bit far. But moderns do make a serious mistake in underestimating the significance of letter-writing to communication, fellowship, romance, advocacy, and more. Indeed, with the explosion of quick, effortless, and unfocused technologies like email and texts, I believe that the handwritten letter is more of an effective force than ever for it underscores the personal investment...both in the subjects raised in the letter and in the recipient.
We at Vital Signs Ministries have always believed in the power of the personal letter. Indeed, we have hosted letter-writing parties since the very founding of our ministry back in 1982. We write letters in order to inform, to advocate change, to courteously protest, to give thanks and encouragement, and in other ways to represent the causes of the sanctity of life, religious freedom, justice, decency, biblical marriage, and the power of Christ's gospel.
And we urge others to join in. For instance, this blog post ("Tips on Letter Writing") is a great primer on how to get started and how to write effective letters of advocacy. You might even consider hosting a letter-writing party for your friends, church, Sunday school class, or pro-life group. We have helped many do that over the years and you can always contact us to get some ideas on structure and method. And here on Vital Signs Blog, I sometimes share a bit about our latest letter-writing activities, including targets, topics, and even sample letters: 1, 2, 3, 4.
By the way, we hosted our latest letter-writing gathering just this past week. There were 11 of us who sat around our dining room table to write cards and letters...with a little time also to talk, drink coffee, eat chocolate cake, and pray together. But the emphasis for 90 minutes is to write and write we did. By the end of our evening, we had exactly 100 cards and letters finished.
We don't mess around.
Among our letter targets? Using the marvelous means given by the Voice of the Martyrs website, we wrote cards (using their own language!) to 15 Christians who are in prison for their faith. We also wrote in their behalf to diplomats and other government officials. We wrote in behalf of Sgt. Charles Martland; we wrote in protest to TV networks for the anti-Christian schlock they're delivering; we wrote thank you cards to a couple of pro-life heroes serving in the Nebraska legislature; we wrote thank you letters to Scheel's and Hobby Lobby; we urged Senators to forestall a vote on Supreme Court nominations until the election; we again urged Senators and Congresspersons to override President Obama's veto of Planned Parenthood's defunding; and a few other items.
Handwritten letters and cards make a difference. The evidence from political figures and business leaders confirm that again and again...as do the testimonies from regular folks who are thrilled and moved to action more than ever when they receive such a thoughtful personal communication.
Light-bearing letter-writers -- we need a lot more on the job.