Skip to main content

Parlez vous...?

I am learning a new language. It is an exciting, challenging, frustrating, neverending process that leaves me ecstatic one moment when I understand a new phrase and feeling totally stupid the next when someone addresses me and I realize that I have no idea what came out of their mouth. What were those people of Babel thinking? Ever since that catastrophic building project we have had to live with miscommunication, misunderstanding, ignorance, lack of interaction, unresponsiveness, and alienation.

Children often ask, "What language does God speak?" I have heard it said that he speaks to each of us in our own language. How comforting, how convenient, how little effort required on my part. I don't need the universal translator of Star Trek fame to understand and communicate with God. The universal mediator, Jesus, is hard at work making me acceptable to God. The universal Spirit is hard at work making our prayers heard. The universal creator is hard at working communicating his love. And I just continue on in my ignorant state? I think not. If I truly am desirous of being known as a resident of the kingdom of God, and not just on a student visa, or a visitor's permit, or even with resident alien status, then perhaps it behoves me to learn the language and customs of the culture of God. Why? The look on my friends' faces when I utter a simple phrase in their native tongue is worth all the hours spent conjugating verbs, and I believe my childish utterances are removing the cursed tower of division known as Babel, one brick, one verb, one sentence at a time.

What language does God speak? I believe it is a divine, direct, diverse, pure, and unlimited expression of his very essence. Naturally it is way beyond my ability to understand, but supernaturally...well that is another matter. And how does one go about learning a new language? You submerse yourself in the sound, you surround yourself with the culture that defines the language, and you get a very good teacher.

Lesson #1. the verb "to be." Let us start by looking at "I AM."

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

what binds us together?

For the past few weeks, I have been reading a book by famed psychiatrist M. Scott Peck which chronicles his travels (together with his wife) through remote parts of the UK in search of prehistoric stones. The book is part travel journal, part spiritual musings, part psychology, and part personal anecdotes. A mixed bag, to be sure, and not always a winning combination. At one point, I considered putting the book aside, not finishing it, but then Peck started writing about community. He is no stranger to the concept. He has led hundreds of community-building workshops over the years, helped start a non-profit organisation dedicated to fostering community, and written a compelling book about the topic, one which greatly impacted me when I read it oh so long ago.[1]

In preparation for a course I am teaching next year, I have been doing quite a bit of study on unity and community. Once you start thinking about it, you see and hear evidence of it everywhere. (See my blog on the impact of b…

job hunting

I am on the hunt for a job. PhD in hand, I am a theologian for hire. The thing is, not a lot of places are hiring theologians these days, and if they are, they are usually looking for scholars with skills and experience outside my area of expertise. Today I found job opportunities for those knowledgeable in Religion, Race, and Colonialism, Philosophy and History of Religion, Islam and Society, Languages of Late Antiquity, Religion, Ethics, and Politics, and an ad for a Molecular Genetic Pathologist. Not one posting for a Dramatic Theologian with  a side order of Spirituality and a dash of Methodology.

I know, I know. My expectations are a bit unrealistic if I believe I will find an exact match for my particular skills. I know that job descriptions are wish lists to some extent, so no candidate is ever a perfect match. I also realize that one must adapt one's skill set according to the requirements of the job and be flexible. But there are so few jobs which come within ten or even…

building the church

Imagine two scenarios: 1) Give every person in the room a popsicle stick. Ask them to come together and put their sticks onto a table. Invariably, you end up with a random pile of sticks on a table. 2) Give every person in the room a popsicle stick. Show a picture of a popsicle stick bird feeder and ask people to come together and put their sticks on a table according to the picture. You will end up with the beginnings of a bird feeder on a table.

What is the difference between the two scenarios? In both, each person brought what they had and contributed it to the collective. However, in the first scenario, there were no guidelines, no plan, and no right or wrong way to pile the sticks. People came, placed their sticks on the table, and walked away. In the second scenario, people were given a plan to follow and as a result, something specific was built. Instead of walking away after they made their contribution, people huddled around the table to watch what was being built. Some were…