Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU! For sticking with me through the Grace Habit discussion. The last post - lessons from - will come at some point in the future - it's proving tricking to pin down - but worth clarifying for sure.
But - within the next week or so I'm going to look at speech.
Speech is one of the more powerful tools we run around with on the daily. Of all the faculties we have - I believe it's the one that's closest to God's own creative capacity. With our words we can create friendship, community, love, harmony, peace, purpose ... or not. It was the power of speech that God toppled in the account of the Tower of Babel. With some well chosen words President Kennedy send the U.S. to the moon.
We also rely on words to tell stories, sing songs and connect with a loved one. We can - with this gift - give those around us a sense of our extraordinary love and commitment to their well-being - or we can crush a soul with a torrent of cruel words. Even more so with silence. Careless speech can divide communities, churches and families. Cruel speech designed to strike can weary a nation.
Unlike the Grace Habit - where I came to the series well after hundreds and hundreds of hours of study and thought and discussion. This topic I'm approaching it with newfound curiosity, hunger for something different. Lately I've felt inclined to take a look at this in the last few months and I've been slowly blocking off time to engage in this study. I feel convicted.
Of course I grew up in the church - so most of the low-hanging fruit things to say about speech I've heard over and over. In fact - I'll admit that some aspects of my speech have been reactionary. I grew up in a church where it was tantamount to heresy to utter a single curse. I grew up in a home where I was not allowed to call my brother "dumb and stupid" (though strangely I knew how to sign it in American Sign Language). I have a vivid memory of my brother coaching me to say something to my mom as a toddler that when she heard me resulted in the strangest look on her face - and then she immediately got up and soaped my suddenly not-laughing-anymore brothers mouth. Aaaaahh. Sibling fun. Anyway - swearing was a big no no at church, at home and elsewhere. Yet - I heard spitefulness, gossip and hate. So for years I've spoken more or less like Yosemite Sam - but worked hard to not speak hatefully - to eschew throwing shame and contempt around. I still do think that those are incredibly destructive.
But isn't there much more to speech? Isn't there much more we can do with it? Is the work done and the day over - let the cows go back to the barn - if you've merely managed to say poo not "$#@^" and dropped no bombs and been a "pretty decent person"? Is that really it?
What about encouraging one another, building up one another, speaking grace and comfort into one another's lives - what about speaking truth ... or a real challenge - what about not speaking - and just listening?
Can we do even more with speech? Where I'm really headed with this - is "how can I learn to speak the maximum grace into the lives of those God's put around me?" Another way to put this pursuit might be to ask, "How can I tame my tongue (James 3) and make of it a gift of obedience to God and speak honestly, authentically, lovingly, creatively in other's lives. It's not that I haven't always more or less wanted to speak in this way - but rather that I wasn't as clear about the necessity or value of this pursuit until recently. I've been looking at experiments in speech in secular research and reading up on things I had no idea even existed.
In general the blog schedule will continue as it is going forward - though with a couple of name changes. It was a complete spur-of-the-moment decision to call the posts on the various books I've presented "Good Reads" - and this is probably not ideal as there's a huge thing called "Good Reads" - so I'll continue discussing various books - but I'll come up with something else to call it.
Thanks again - praying you all have a wonderful weekend!