Thursday, June 08, 2017

The Language of the Presence-Driven Church

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Greenfield Village, Dearborn

I'm devoting a chapter, in my book Leading the Presence-Driven Church, to "The Language of the Presence-Driven Church."

The idea is: the words we use constitute our experience of reality.

I'm drawing upon:

  • My own work in linguistics, especially metaphor theory
  • The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
  • Charles Taylor's The Language Animal, and his idea that language (not simply words) constitute reality
  • And, this does not deny the idea that there is a reality "out there" to be known and experienced (no Wittgensteinian fideism [no self-enclosed, incommensurable "language games"]; rather, Husserl's phenomenological approach, esp. as understood by Dallas Willard)
Eugene Peterson shares these ideas. Note how immersed he is in language, and writing well. Here Peterson quotes theologian Stanley Hauerwas. Note how important language becomes in the acts of experiencing and knowing. In my book I will suggest that Presence-Driven Leaders utilize an alternative language to that of secular culture.

“We are as we come to see and as that seeing becomes enduring in our intentionality,” says Hauerwas. “We do not come to see, however, just by looking but by training our vision through the metaphors and symbols that constitute our central convictions. How we come to see therefore is a function of how we come to be since our seeing necessarily is determined by how our basic images are embodied by the self — i.e., in our character.... The moral life is not first a life of choice — decision is not king — but is rather woven from the notions that we use to see and form the situations we confront” (Hauerwas, Vision and Virtue, p. 2. In Eugene
Peterson, Under the Unpredictable Plant: An Exploration in Vocational Holiness, p. 198)

My two books are:

Leading the Presence-Driven Church (coming late summer 2017)

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God