Friday, December 23, 2005

Redeeming Conversation (Part 1 of 10)

I'm going to be away from my computer for the next ten days, so there won't be any blogs on current events for a few days. Instead, I have a series of blogs that examine conversation from a theological perspective.

The title for this series is "Redeeming Conversation." One blog in this ten part series should be posted each day. Here's the introduction:

"Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth." 1 John 3:18

In the beginning God spoke and created all that exists and has life. His Word expresses his loving nature. God?s Word perfectly correlates with His deed.

God made us in his image. He gave us power to create words and symbols that express our nature. When Adam and Eve first spoke they knew exactly what the other had in mind when they were talking. The meaning of their words was clear and transparent.

The Birth of Suspicion

Things began to change when the word of the serpent was heard. Words were whispered that made the first couple suspicious of God?s intentions. A division between word and deed was created. When Adam and Eve acted on the basis of suspicion, life based on trust died. No longer would the meaning of words be clear and transparent. No longer could they take each other?s words at face value. No longer could they be sure they knew what the other had in mind when they talked. Talk had been degraded. It was filled with distortions, half-truths and lies.

Each of us repeats the experience of Adam and Eve in our own lives. Shortly after we learn to speak, we begin to lie. There is no natural correlation between word and deed for us. Each of us speaks out of our own self-interest. Each of us learns to listen to others with suspicion.

A community founded on suspicion always ends in conflict and confusion. That is what happened when people agreed to build a tower at Babel. They were united in purpose and spoke in one language when they began. Before they could finish they were divided and spoke with many tongues. Confusion and division always results when community is based on word or tongue but not in deed and truth.

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