Sunday, April 15, 2007

Liturgical Language

The recent "Imus controversy" has sparked in me a desire for further conversation about the impact of language within the Christian tradition. As one who is formed by liturgy I believe that the language that the community uses is of utmost importance not just for the worship of God but for the formation of Christian disciples.

The challenge transcends what has been called "inclusive" language. Inclusive language has traditionally refers to gender neutral and race sensitive articulation in prayer, sermon and written word. The latest verbal snafu by a member of the media reminds us that the church has a duty to speak counter culturally. This reminds me of a question posed to Tom Long about the why's of inclusive language. The one asking the question thought of inclusive language as a politically correct ideal and not necessarily a matter of liturgical (my words) necessity. To this challenge Tom answered, and I will paraphrase, "inclusive language is important in the church because it models the ideal in a community of faith, it models who we strive to be."

Here I am advocating a Christian ethic of language and its use. Based upon the idea of a God who is Word and who continually uses word to reach out and bring forth a new creation. Three possible points of my argument are that word is creative, prophetic and redemptive. Any Christian language that does not bring forth these things should be reconsidered.

So, my brother, this is just the beginning. I am working on the essay as we speak. What do you think.

Peace, Juan+