Words are important or they wouldn’t exist. Here is my “working theology” of words:
The cultures we create.
The drama we live.
The battles we fight.
The imaginations we nourish.
All of these happen in and amidst the words that we speak.
The kind of words we use matter: to our communities, our relationships, our world.
Our words, over time, build a story, create a culture, and move us towards (or away) from one another.
This isn’t an individual matter of intentionality or effort. This isn’t trying to avoid cuss-words or saying please and thank you more often. This is way, way, way bigger.
This is words ushering in reality. This is words building and shaping entire communities, over and through generations.
Language is a shared reality. The public speech of our teachers and leaders are creating the imaginations that bind our world to a particular story. And that is the story we live inside; a story that began with a Word.
Words are evocative. Word are invasive. Words are dangerous.
We have been given the power – and the responsibility – of the word; for it is within our collective words that we withhold or extend, divide or gather, retain or forgive, the shared covenant blessing of community and of life.