The word information seems synonymous with content or facts or data. In fact, we regularly use the word information to talk about an accumulation of ideas or bits of knowledge around a particular topic. The very form of the word might also clue us into another more ancient and more specific use of the word inform.
The MIddle English enforme or informe refers to “give form or shape to” and “form the mind of,” “teach.” The Latin informare comes from “in” or “into” and forma “a form.” As I pause over the word “information,” it makes me think of Torah. The way of Torah is a way of relational instruction: parent to child. The parent images the The Lord as Father of His people who instructs them from His holy mountain, leads them through the wilderness, and shapes them into a nation of priests and kings. At its root, information is a way of formation not simply of accumulation. Continue reading