Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A God Thing

Sometime I use the standard Christianese of long standing: "blessed", "saved", etc. Then there's the slightly newer stuff like "it's was a God thing". When I use that phrase, I mean something like a series of events occurred which were so clearly orchestrated and encouraging that I have to believe that God had a direct hand in them.

But difficulty in communicating such things is exactly the general area where I felt like a God thing happened.

I watched a very well done Atheist vs. Christian debate this morning. In fact, it was one of the best I have seen. Nonetheless, the "versus" part bothered me a lot. I don't mind if folks disagree. But I really hate it when they seem to become frustrated primarily because they are not communicating well. It seems that every such discussion is plagued by a lot of miscommunication. One tact I have taken in the past year was to very carefully work on defining terms up front: What do we mean by faith, God, sin, etc? However, I feel that I have generally either caused the other party in the discussion to feel like I am grilling them, insulting their intelligence, or being presumptuous about the value of defining terms. The other sad fact is that the discussion can become very dry very fast. So dry that it withers and dies.
It happens that I have read more books on language, linguistics, and communication in the past year or so than I probably have in all the other fifty five years of my life (don't get the wrong idea, I am talking about only four or five books ).
It also happens that my daughter and son-in-law have completed their education and certification as Bible Translators for Wycliffe and will soon embark on a decade or two of working to translate the bible into Mbugwe (one people group in Tanzania). This has given me the opportunity to learn a bit from them.

A string of "also happens" is where I start to see a "God thing". I get it that someone else might not, but I do at least sometimes.

I loved my day today, but it was the latest in a long string of very leisurely days. I am actively searching for more purposeful pursuits. As I wandered about a large bookstore, I wondered what on earth I would read next that would have value beyond simple entertainment. I also wondered what on earth I could possibly write about, teach about, or talk about, that would have value that even begins to approach so many other folks efforts.

I just happened upon book about one woman's struggles to deal with dozens of Christian terms that she had heard as a child, but largely rejected as an adult. Later she regained her faith, but only after deepening her understanding of many of the terms. I am eating it up.

I had a sort of epiphany. Which may be a fancy word for seeing a "God thing" for what it is.

Every time I write a profile or bio, I write that I love God and Jesus Christ is my lord and savior. I do that because I consider those to be the most essential information there could be about me.

But I suspect that many folks have little idea of what I actually mean when I write that. Perhaps I should write more about the most essential information about me and what I have learned. However, I may need to create a whole new way of communicating to do so effectively.

Now that feels like a goal worth tackling. In fact is seems completely overwhelming. Good. I am tired of being smug and self assured. Time to walk out into territory that scares the crap out of me. I will asked God for the strength and the wisdom to do so in a way that glorifies him. I believe he likes to say yes to those kinds of requests!
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