My last post The Language Problem, said that post-modernists -those churchy folk who use catch phrases like Deconstructionism, Metanarrative, and Emergent – also describe something called the problem of language. Basically we find that the more we talk the less we understand one another. There are inherent problems of who we are and where we come from that shade our words with meaning that isn’t always conveyed.
The question is if Christianity is supposed to be inclusive, how can we adapt our language to that end without losing the Christian identity?
The answer is surprisingly simple, and I’m really amazed that I didn’t see it. In the comments section of that post we were talking about all kinds of things from allegorical narrative (a fancy way of saying, parables) to the sanctity of a biblical vocabulary (ie don’t throw out words like “redemption” with strong biblical use).
Not going to lie, I was having fun with that discussion which caused me to miss the main point. A blogger from South Dakota said it first and I just kind of skipped over it because I was having too much fun thinking about metalinguistics (not sure that’s a word but it sounds about right). Then another blogger with a ranch, a cool hat and a hotshot said the same thing, but I didn’t see it until a few days later.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5
“1 When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. 2 For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. 4 And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. 5 I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.6 Yet when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten.”
None of this is about what we say, or how we say it (which is something considering my own love of words) but the people to whom we say it.
“But for truly effective communication, a people must share stories, experiences, etc.” (that was South Dakota, I’m sorry I stepped all over this one!)
“know who you are talking to and rely on God.” (Mr. Cowboy, brilliant AND brief. Love it!)
It doesn’t matter what we say, how we say it or even who we say it to if we aren’t actually making an effort to tune into the person standing in front of us (or on the other side of the computer screen); if we try and use a broad paintbrush and over generalize everything then we might as well throw in the towel now.
Because here’s there real simple truth. God doesn’t care about policy, or words, or programs or buildings.
God cares about people.