Thursday, January 10, 2008

Kingdom language

Larry Chouinard has written an enlightening essay on language and discipleship. His basic idea is simple but important: While the early church effectively appropriated the language of Greco-Roman culture to describe God's Kingdom, today's church risks compromising the message by how we adjust, linguistically and functionally, to the surrounding culture:
The modern effort to communicate in culturally relevant terms has often failed to realize that the grid through which we sift the message might actually distort or blur the Kingdom vision. When our language reeks of the corporate world it often produces a cost-effective model that loses sight of Kingdom virtue and the value of the one. When our language is permeated by the categories of the psychotherapist, our focus often becomes individual well-being and happiness at the expense of selfless service and an other-directedness. When the language of the Kingdom is hi-jacked to support a political agenda, the Kingdom's message of peace and justice is often distorted by national interest. In fact, the language of the Kingdom reflects a way of life and priorities that may seem foreign, strange, and even foolish to the conventions of old world thinking.
So what must the church do? "Learn the language and grammar of a Kingdom not of this world." Larry's article is insightful and challenging; I strongly recommend reading the whole thing.


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