The Loss of Language

Language is important. 
One of the constant comments I hear at the end of the spiritual formation seminars and retreats I do - is that people now have language to name what they have intuitively sensed, but didn't know how to express. With the language comes a concept . . . and with the concept is the possibility of living into and living out of that new way.

Language is important. 
Without it we lose the mental maps
 to navigate life. Living in our post-Christendom and post-Christian culture, we are losing, and really - have lost, the mental maps of the  Christian faith. The ideas and practices of faith that were once the norm, are not the rarity. The inner character that was generated and sustained by those mental maps has likewise disappeared. Same with values and priorities. 


Language is important.
When we don't have a language
 and the mental maps needed, we then go searching for one that will help us interpret, discern and understand - "how should we then live." As the language of faith has been lost, the language of psychology has become the new worldview by which we live. Perhaps the language of popular culture is even more dominant for our mental maps.


Here is some language I think we are losing (and for some, it is already lost). We simply no longer know what these words mean, what they signify and what we are to experience.


sin, depravity, guilt

justification, sanctification, glorification

holiness, sovereignty, justice, judgment


sacrifice, surrender
repentance, confession, mortification

glory, beauty, goodness

morality, virtue, character
God, Jesus Christ


We are hard pressed to define these words… at wits end to explain them clearly and accurately… and therefore, we fail to experience what we cannot name and understand. Which is why these realities are disappearing or have disappeared in our culture . . . and which is why our culture is disintegrating all around. One author speaks of the fragmentation of faith. Another of the new barbarianism that is upon us.


Language is important.
Which is why leadership always involves
teaching, communication, mental-map making and worldview explaining. But if the leaders themselves no longer believe these realities, if the leader no longer live in the dynamic experience of these mighty truths, then other old biblical words comes to mind. 


Words like:  WOE & Ichabod & desolation.
But we have forgotten its meaning as well. It will be a sorry thing when we find ourselves learning the meaning of this word as the new world we are creating cannot be sustained.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International