Speaking Christian

Stanley Hauerwas says, “To learn to be a Christian, to learn the discipline of faith, is not just similar to learning another language, it is learning another language.”

Anyone who tries to learn a new language knows that the process involves more than just learning new vocabulary words and grammar rules.  Language is tied to culture, and culture involves a whole set of categories for how people think and act.  To become fluent in another language, one must be immersed in the culture where that language is spoken. 

In the same way, in order to “speak Christian,” we must learn to think and act according to the categories of loving God and loving neighbor.   Speaking well requires that we are immersed within a community that is shaped by the cruciform pattern of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.  

To that end, we will be starting a summer series called “Practices of Christian Community.”  Just as one gains fluency in a language by engaging in the culture where that language is spoken, fluency in speaking Christian involves a whole-life immersion with the words, grammar, stories, symbols, and practices of the Christian faith.  

In this series, we will look at various Christian practices in which our beliefs are embodied and through which fluency is acquired.  Practices include but are not limited to:

                Prayer,

                Scripture Study,

                Trust and Surrender,

                Simplicity,

                Fasting,

                Sabbath,

                Evangelism,

                Peacemaking,

                Forgiveness and Reconciliation,

                Generosity,

                Hospitality.

Such practices can rightly be called “Christian” when they are shaped by Christ himself and when they bear the fruit of Christ-likeness in the lives of those who practice them.  It is my hope and prayer that this series will help us speak Christian well, so that we are a community in which others can learn to speak well too.