Monday, March 10, 2014

More on semantics

Perhaps in my last post it seemed I was poking fun of people who say God directly spoke to them, but that was not my intention.  For as many different people as there are in the world, there are as many different ways for God to speak to them.  I only know what feels comfortable and real to me, and I've written about it.

Yes, this kind of language makes me feel weird.  It is not something I grew up hearing.  Now that I'm attending a Christian church, teaching at a Christian cottage school and, in general, meeting more people who are of different belief systems, I am hearing more of the lingo.

There are others phrases that I've heard that have strange connotations to me.  Hearing people speak of being "convicted" and of "testimony" makes me think of legal proceedings, not God.  The only reason "testify" in terms of religion doesn't completely catch me off guard is because I like soul music.

Like with the word blessing, though, my issue is also the overuse of language to the point that it loses its relevance and meaning.  I don't doubt that God speaks to people, but if God speaks to a person about a critical life decision but also speaks to him/her about what car to buy, I have a difficult time reconciling that God really speaks to people about both the very important and the minutiae of life.  I'm not saying it isn't real to them; it simply sounds weird and unbelievable to me.  But I don't know God's mind or how God works or anything other than what I feel/think and believe.

My middle schoolers are reading Dragonwings, and we discussed a phrase in the book in which one of the characters says "We see the same thing and yet find different truths."   I both agree and disagree with this phrase and how it relates to so much in life, especially religion.

I think people often see the same thing and see the same truth, but the language they use to explain the truth is very different which makes it seem like a different truth.

In the novel, the characters are looking at the stars and picking out constellations.  The Americans have different figures, names for the figures and stories behind the figures than the Chinese immigrants.  Ultimately, though, the truth is that the stars form pictures and we all, regardless of our culture or religion or age, learn moral lessons from the stories behind the stars' formations.

The core of the seed is the same.  We all have different names for the seed and the tree that it grows into and we do different things with the fruit it bears, but we all know it is a seed.

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