During 23 years of teaching world literature at two boarding schools in New England and then at a community college in Dallas, I always included in each year’s curriculum at least one novel, a play and a few short stories that focus on Puritanism in one form or another.
For example, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter or The House of the Seven Gables and Young Goodman Brown as well as Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. To help students understand the Puritans’ core convictions, I devised an acronym, TULIP:
Total depravity of man (i.e. original sin)
Utter sovereignty of God (i.e. omnipotent)
Limited atonement (i.e. only a few will become “at one” with God)
Infant damnation (i.e. salvation cannot be earned)
Perseverance of the saints (i.e. those who are “saved” have power and wealth)
Here’s an interesting historical footnote. John Hathorne (1641-1717) was among the judges who presided at the Salem witch trials and the only one of them who never repented for the executions of innocent people. Hathorne was the great-great grandfather of Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) who was so ashamed of that relationship that he changed his last name when enrolling at Bowdoin College.
In business and especially in the military services, acronyms are widely (and sometimes unwisely) used. The fact remains, however, that they can have a value if used sparingly within an appropriate context.