Wednesday, December 08, 2021

The Words of Jesus Were Events

(Butterfly House, Whitehouse, Ohio)

I wrote my doctoral dissertation on metaphor theory and linguistic philosophy; especially, how metaphors referI draw on this research in my chapter on the language of presence-driven churches in my book Leading the Presence-Driven Church

One source is speech act theory (John Searle, and J. L. Austin's How to Do Things with Words)

Henri Nouwen, in Gracias! A Latin American Journal, links Austin's idea that words have "illocutionary force" with the biblical idea that Jesus is "the Word." Nouwen writes:

"In Jesus, no division existed between his words and his actions, between what he said and what he did. Jesus’ words were his action, his words were events. They not only spoke about changes, cures, new life, but they actually created them. In this sense, Jesus is truly the Word made flesh; in that Word all is created and by that Word all is re-created."

Nouwen encourages us to have what I am calling illocutionary integrity.

"Saintliness means living without division between word and action. If I would truly live in my own life the word I am speaking, my spoken words would become actions, and miracles would happen whenever I open my mouth."