LEARNING TO SPEAK CHRISTIAN

26th June 2013

Dear Friends

Having spent today in a country where English is infrequently heard, I am reminded how estranged we become without common words. In one sense it is quite lonely and I am reminded how alien people must feel when they find themselves in an environment where everyone speaks Christian lingo.

 Stanley Hauerwas in his book Learning to speak Christian, suggests that our work is to teach the Christian language. At first glance this seems regressive but hear him out. -

Christian speak"The sermon is the fundamental speech act through which Christians learn the grammar of faith
..... to shape language to a living reality among the people of God .... to make it conform to Jesus. "
"The sermon is Jesus once again trying to speak to his community". .... .
"Prayer is at the heart of Christian speech".

It seems to me that he is saying that to speak Christian:

is not just to make Christ the centre of our normal conversation, it is to make the conversations of Christ the kernel of our conversations.

This does not require Christian words, it anticipates Christ worthy outcomes. 

Little wonder confused disciples asked Jesus: "Teach us to pray" –

Help us to speak to God in the way that you do. Tell us the kinds of things that God would expect to hear from his followers.

Hauerwas specifically suggests that we speak Christian when we speak of peace and peaceably so.

To follow his line of thought, we speak Christian when we:

speak of a lives purposefully filled,
express empathy and pathos,
pursue equity and justice,
exhibit mercy for the poor and wayward,
speak of generosity rather than greed,
speak of healing for the hurting,
speak calmly to the spiritually frail,
speak truth to the powerful for the sake of the powerless,
speak of God's sustaining providence,
speak of the abundance and beauty of creation,
express hope in Christ's coming kingdom.

 This line of thinking challenges our curriculum based witness toward the language of creative kingdom building conversations. Thank you again for contributing to the growth of those whose conversations will be different as a consequence of your ministry. 

With very best regard, searching for peaceful solutions, from a barren hotel room somewhere in Belgrade.

 Pilmoor signature

 


Victor

Victor Pilmoor is treasurer of the British Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. For the past several years he has personalised the monthly pay-slips to his staff by including a message, often related to a book he has been reading. More recently, what has become affectionately known as 'Pilmoor's Ponderings' has gained a larger following and is posted in the treasury pages of the Adventist Church website for the UK and Ireland.

[Victor Pilmoor]


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