Help I’m losing my language

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I’m no linguistic by half, however I feel that one of our modern day challenges is that we are told “ you I can’t use this word”, people attempting to change my word use by removing words from my use, you can’t say that.   Words loosing their original sense, words been narrowed down in use.   Words such as “gay”, “grooming”, “inclusion” each one of these words seem to be losing their original sense I am being hijacked to a narrow application which means I can’t use them, so I’m told!  

Where as “gay” used to mean light-hearted and carefree, “grooming” to prepare or train for particular purpose, to look after, give neat and tidy appearance and “inclusion” an action or state of including or being included within a people group.    But each one of these words have been allocated to something else and my vocabulary has lost them, and we get misunderstood in using them.   The acceptable use of the words have become too narrow and defined toosmall.    I admit to live light, light-hearted and carefree is a wonderful life goal, while grooming people to be as Paul the apostle put its “follow me as I follow Christ”, preparing us to live life in Gods will while living loving, inclusively of all, is this not Chrst like living?   My appeal is will you return my vocabulary!

My first language is not English, it is my second my first being Welsh, I’m told I could not speak English until I hit double figures in age.   Welsh was my original language, the language of my heart so to speak.   I also noted that over the years having left Wales in 1984 there have been some changes to my ability to call this my first language.   I really haven’t used Welsh in a conversational way since the early 80’s and I found myself having some challenge even in Welsh now. I would now say that the language of the heart is that which you think in, and probably dream in. My admittance, sadly is that I now translate not from Welsh to English from my English Welsh, a scandal really?

My aim in writing this is to appeal to us that we begin to live from the same language. There are so many diverse languages, many tongues spoken. Whether we are losing our language, with simplewords being hijacked to mean narrow definitions or whether through lack of use and progression our native language becomes rusty we all still need to speak from one language.

Let me take the word inclusion, I’m not associating with theological debate this  word seems to be caught in, that is raging presently, to use it is to put your neck on the chopping block it seems.   It is not on who’s in and who’s out, who is saved and who is not, my appeal is simply Gods’ way is to include you and I, there is the love of God, God’s reach, God rains on the just and unjust.    God, to me seems very inclusive in Gods love rather that distinguish, separateness but loves all, and allows all to taste and see that God is good.     What am I  trying to communicate, in my learnt language, is that the One people may have many tongues but it has One language, the language of LOVE.   To love one another, a love that is revels the Trinitarian relationship that we have been brought through Christ into God.

Rather that loss of words lets us gain a language of love that empowers

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My appeal is not for words but a language that comes from my heart one that demonstrates and reflects God.

Did not the translators have a desire and still do, that every people group should receive the scriptures in their native tongue, a grand desire.   However should not our desire be that not words but that every people group receive the language of God, love, heart language that would have an expansive vocabulary…

You and I are created by relationship “Let us Make mankind in our image and likeness”, for relationship we were created in relationship.    The language of this people group from relationship for relationship is that of love, enlargement, inclusive, dynamic speaking a language of the heart, of the heart of God, not words only.

We have a picture of God in Gen. 1 saying “Let there be”, yet what language did God speak in Gen. 1 when no language existed at that time, certainly not English or Welsh or even Hebrew, yet a language that brought about creation.   Let me suggest that light came when God “spoke”, scripture informs us that the light of God is many times brighter that the light of midday, now that is bright.    Christ is said to be the “light of the world”, could one say then that perhaps the language of Gen. 1 is Christ, Christ spoke here, a language of relationship (“who ever has seen me has seen the Father”, “Father and I are One”) which is the language of LOVE.

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If we applied love more, the love that men might know there is a God, as we love one another perhaps our vocabulary would not be reductive but expansive, ever increasing.

Love is your language, love is the grid of our words, why don’t we be adventurous and expand into this next season.

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Community, Belonging

images.jpegI recently attended a conference where one of the topics in consideration was the growth of mental health issues in the church, as well as  in our society. It was reported there is a  major impact of loneliness on every level. The growth of loneliness is being experienced by both people and leaders.     It is said that when depression begins to take hold, secrecy which produces aloneness is an initial symptom.

I’m sure we have all seen depicted on films and TV channels the punishment of solitary confinement to anyone who is incarcerated, psychologists deem that solitary confinement is tantamount to torture. Being incarcerated into a confined space, away from people is not by far a helpful experience.

The two introductory paragraphs deal fundamentally with the same issue whichever way we look at it. People are not made to be separated from people, people are not made to be outside of community.

The good news of our gospel is that we’ve been welcomed into a community, this community being the divine community of father son and spirit. Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ a way has been provided for you and I to return to God. To be a good one within the divine community.

Recently the Royal colleges of GP’s estimated that there are somewhere in the region of 1.1 million lonely people in the UK, 50% of these are more likely to die prematurely than those who have good social networks. In health terms this means that loneliness is as dangerous as diabetes. Talk to any GP and you’ll be shocked at the number of lonely people they speak too throughout the day.

Why. 

The Scriptures open up with what we call the creation story, this  is a continuation of that story, God declares that it is “not good”for humanity to be isolated (Gen. 2:18).  Humanity was created to be in the image and likeness of God therefore it is impossible to think of people being alone.   Even the writer in the book of Proverbs highlights this  person “He who separates himself seeks his own desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom”. Prov. 18:1.   In other words to separate to be alone is to separate yourself from the purpose of God, having cultivated such self seeking aim.

Yet modern life with all its connectivity  seems to be producing friends, networks, so-called belongings along with visions and goals to give yourself and  yet we are more disconnected and suffering from loneliness than ever before. The challenge of being present, fully present when we converse together, when we laugh and weep together seems to be more of a challenge than ever. To be fully the image and likeness of community, of God and realise this is part of our creational make-up and mandate to be.

You and I are made to truly belong, not artificially but truly together, our union with God is to be reflected in our belonging to one another.    This is just one of the gifts of the ecclesia to us, a place of belonging to one another.  It’s not a belonging to  charismatic leaders or a great vision, never mind how helpful we may feel those to be.   But a place to belonging to one another working and walking, living our Chirst like life out together.

As we pursue our relationship with God, going deeper into the relationship for us as humanity, its not you and I working to be drawn closer to God but we have been fully brought near, into this union with God, by the gift of God.    Become in union with God, a realisation that this relationship is patterned and displayed by the Trinitarian pattern of the Father Son and Spirit that you and I are to reflect and be the image and likeness of this relationship in creation.    We come to our own realisation that only when I grasp, when I take hold of what it means for God to be in Trinity I will begin to see the beauty and see the overflowing kindness the love of God and realise that I am to be the image and likeness of God. We are to be the image and likeness of God in this Trinitarian relationship.   Will I ever realise how to express togetherness and be part of community. This community will solve the aloneness, the loneliness of many hearts when they realise that belonging first to guard and then be expressed through a community of people that reflect this God centred relationship.

We as the ecclesia in  humanity are given the gift of the deep joy of belonging having been welcomed into the community of Christ and belonging to one another.

images-1.jpegWe live in the society with all its words of friendship, networking, connectivity which however appear, to be working towards isolating people.   This is certainly not our abundant life in Christ.   I’m struck today by a repeated pattern that Jesus spoke to people when he affected their lives, he tells them to return to your belonging once they met Christ.   “Return home”, testify tell  the community where you belong, at home. Is this Christ attempting to paint the picture that meeting him brings about immediate belonging and restoration to a community, divine and humanity.

I cannot read John 14:20, John 15 or John 17 without being struck about belonging, one eternal embrace of belonging.

Perhaps, I need to, we need to, realise that I don’t just need you but I belong to you. Perhaps with the cries from lonely people around us, with our society producing isolation, this only goes to indicate that people, our neighbours, and natural families long to belong.  

We certainly live in the day where John 13:35 can have its effect ”By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one”, this may result in the greatest evangelism that we’ve ever seen but when we display this love, expressed in this belonging that people will come into the realisation of Christ. Rather than just having evangelistic enterprises but having a community that no first their own belonging in the community of divine love and expressing this love that everyone might know. 

Let us join together and turn the aloneness and loneliness of our communities into belonging and its place of investing love which values all and produces belonging, a people of community showing value and importance to each one.