Howard Thurman speaks of Jesus’ lasting effectiveness over life having to do with how well he ‘articulated his faith’. It is critical to ‘The Testament’ and ‘The Proclamation’ of… any one.
In the ‘articulation of faith’ process one must come to terms with ‘word’.” Because there is a natural tendency to put a definite article with ‘word’, look again at ‘word’ in it’s singular form and it’s importance to the life of faith.
It is the ‘unarticulated life’— (most normally the childhood, adolescence to youth) who allows the use of ‘words’ to provoke violence. One word is spoken. The response to that word is spoken. A series of words are exchanged (most often of the expletive ‘4 letter’ kind) resulting in an eruption of violence. The wisdom saying evolved— “it is not what you are called, it is what you answer to!” You give power or render powerless ‘words’.
Even in the Church’s Sunday School and Bible Study classes, (many of which have a hovering threat of violence in any given session,) one’s word is under attack— all while present here in this setting is this ‘Testament’: One Lord, One Faith and One Baptism!
I recall a class discussion in Seminary from the course “Mission of The Church” when Professor George Thomas stated that “there is only one word that has power to move one to immediate action— the word: GOD. In my persuasion of this, I have very deliberately grown towards hearing a persons ‘word association’ before processing it’s meaning— good, bad or indifferent to my word. An ‘articulated life’ can most readily receive another’s ‘word’, AND say, “it doesn’t mean that for me!” I cannot, must not invalidate your ‘word’ in order to give validity to mine. “If your word/logos is not received”, Jesus says, not an eruption of violence, “kick the dust off your feet, and move on to the next town!”
It’s the discipline of Semantics— the science of meanings. It is a practice of Psychology— psyche/mind logy/word, to state a word for you to respond with the first word that comes to your mind.
This ‘word association’ reveals not just how far we are from the ‘true meaning of a word’, but, what the word has come to mean to me.
“Road Rage” in our times, has taken the ‘word’ into a whole other direction. Hand gestures, face gestures, NOT even HEARD; —just seen; is erupting in violence between individuals who have never even met each other least wise to know WHO or WHAT… they are!
Confusion? Yes! A ball of it! For we live in a world that would take ‘word’ meanings so far beyond the original intent of the word, that violence erupts— everywhere! Calculated distractions from the most important word of life— GOD, in all of it’s wide and varied manifestation.
To the child /adolescent /youth I say, if your word/logos is not bios/life (biology), or socios/social order (sociology), or theos/god (theology), or any of the “-logy disciplines” then, YOU ARE DISTRACTED. If when you find yourself in a situation where the exchange of ‘words’ of the mundane kind is heading for an eruption of violence, (not just in the streets, but also in the home, on the job…), then this distraction could cost you… your life.
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