From our Preacher’s Vademecum

And Almanac for Clerics,

We bring this jingled guide to

Rhetorical numerics.

For every pulpit speaker

Must know the spell of number;

If arguments are weak, or

The nodding hearers slumber,

No study of linguistics,

Patristics, or the mystics,

Has half of one per cent of

The power of statistics.

Through mastery of digits,

Geometry, and Trig., yours

Must be the added duty

Of proving it with figures.

Percentages are potent,

And who can bring objection

To sociometric survey

With I.B.M. projection?

In analyzing factors,

No room for question lingers;

If you would make your points, sir,

Just count them on your fingers.

The graphs in paragraphs of

Your exponential preaching

Will plot a soaring orbit

Of influence far-reaching.

Yet numbers without nuance

Do little to incline us;

Your phrasing must assign them

A value, plus or minus.

A cold and empty zero

Is void if so you take it;

If vacuous, inane,

And uninformed you make it.

But verbal mathematics

Emotionally spoken

Creates a zero plus, all

Unprejudiced and open!

One minus—monolithic,


Alone and solipsistic,

When differently stated

May lose the insularity

Of single isolation.

Becoming solidarity

In union with our nation.

“The schizophrenic splittings

Of deviating schism”

Are proper verbal fittings

For wicked dualism,

While twoness that we relish

Is favorably rated—

To praise togethernesses

Our verbs are conjugated.

If one is undecided

Which dual scheme to mention,

A polar dialectic

Will furnish both in tension

Rhetorical numerics

Adds benefits uncounted

But just be sure your numbers

Are colorfully mounted!



I have … read Professor Ladd’s article on the millennium (Sept. 1 issue) and was impressed by the excellent attempt to prove the millennium in other ...

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