On words.

04 Jul

this is me and my wife.  We never have trouble communicating....


Words have immense power—and that fact is in part the inspiration for this blog’s new direction.   Words are the most malleable, understandable, and thorough means that we have to communicate with each other.  And if there is a “God-Song” playing all around us, words are without a doubt the most common notes that we use to express that song to each other and to others, not to mention to commit our songs to “communal memory” (i.e., words are how communities expresses the stories and rituals that help them define who they are). 


And yet, most people would agree that words can get it wrong… In fact, our words can flat-out blow it.  And now I speak with at least a little more authority on this, being married.  I’m becoming quite the expert in miscommunication, actually.  I like to think of it as a gift.


We all know that miscommunication is EASY… disturbingly easy.  Yet for some reason, sometimes we pretend that its not an issue in the church, in theology, and in our scriptures.  Sometimes, we are tempted to see our words to express these things as “holy” words, that are self-defining, immune to miscommunication. 


Part of what I’d like this blog to accomplish is to start dialogues surrounding the use, and the potential MISuse, of our “holy” terminology… how we often assume too much in our “God-dialogue,” how that might lead to serious misunderstandings, and how we might begin to re-think our definitions and usages. 


As I write this, my lovely wife, who ALWAYS communicates perfectly with me, and I are making our way to our new home in Huntsville… via California wine country, Chico, Tahoe, Vegas, Grand Canyon, Lubbock, and San Antonio.  (Yes, that does involve going backwards for a significant amount of time.  We’re visiting friends and family in Nor-Cal prior to our somewhat-scenic drive home, in case you were wondering.)  So I will post my first example of what I’m describing, hopefully, this weekend after we get a little settled.


Until then, I’d love to hear any thoughts or feelings anyone has about my premise.  Where do you notice the power of words?  Do examples of miscommunication in the church come to mind? 


Posted by on July 4, 2010 in Muffins


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9 responses to “On words.

  1. jon green

    July 5, 2010 at 8:40 am

    in the beginninng was the word (verb in spanish)….

  2. jlundewhitler

    July 5, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    And so, perhaps, we misunderstand who Jesus is, as the “Word,” when we think of “words” as static, unmovable objects…

    That could make a good post/conversation!

  3. jon green

    July 6, 2010 at 3:22 am

    that is why i like the spanish translation that uses “verb” to translate “Logos” I think it reminds us that He is not static, but is moving and acting….creating directing leading

  4. jlundewhitler

    July 7, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    Thanks; that’s a good “word” there…

    haha… get it?

  5. Heather Thomson

    July 10, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    It’s funny that you are mentioning this. I just found out about a book (actually, I think its a small group study) that discusses this very thing. I haven’t read it yet, so I don’t know if it’s any good, but I’m getting a copy to review and I can let you know if you’re interested.

  6. jlundewhitler

    July 13, 2010 at 7:51 am

    Heather- I’m sorry; the link you provided does not go to a particular book! Maybe you could try again?

  7. Heather Thomson

    July 13, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    Hm, it works when I try it. Are you sure you got the whole link?

  8. jlundewhitler

    July 14, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    Ah, yes. Not sure why it didn’t work for me before. Yes, at first glance, I’d be very interested in reading this book— This kind of book does seem familiar to me, and in my experience, usually discussing these “theological words” is often done with the goal of “defining them properly.” What I’m interested in doing, however, is examining our assumed definitions and having open conversations about those assumptions. But, since I haven’t read the book, maybe that’s exactly what the author does; who knows…. If you purchase it, let me know what you think!

  9. Heather Thomson

    July 25, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Actually, the copy I’m going to review is free, with the stipulation that I pass it on to someone else when I’m done. I’m going to read and review it on my blog this week, so if it sounds like something you’d be interested in send me an address and I’ll send it to you.


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