Thursday, January 1, 2009

more words

"Like mankind itself, words are fallen vessels: capable of enormous good but incapable of perfection without the intervention of a savior," says Laura.

As I was proofreading a paper about St. Augustine's view of words for Laura, a dear friend of mine, I was fascinated with the rhetoric in the paper as well as in Augustine's Confessions. They relate to last Sunday's post "sunday symposium: guarding the meaning" quite well. Laura stated:

"...the indispensable nature of speech in conveying knowledge endows the spoken and written word with incredible power which can be used both positively and negatively."

She also quoted Roger Lundin, The Culture of Interpretation: Christian Faith in the Postmodern World, who writes, "Most contemporary schools of theory acknowledge the power of the past to shape language and the self. It has become a truism of contemporary thinking that we always speak as selves dramatically circumscribed by the meanings of the words we employ, and not as totally free selves choosing words and meanings at will. Every word we use carries a history of associations and usages within it. When we appropriate language for our own use, we inherit the moral history of the words we employ, even if we are attempting to do nothing more than use those words to get what we want. Words do not simply influence our thinking; they undergird it, they shape it, and they direct it", I'm back on my soapbox. The words we use to describe our worship of the Holy and Triune God tell us something. Let's make sure it is a theologically correct something.