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Confusion of Language

Genesis tells of the confusing of language while the people of Babylon were building a tower of extreme height. There is evidence of confused communication in modern times. My words apparently do not always convey the same meaning that I had in mind, upon reception by the intended receiver.

On Pride (July 2014)

A Language for the Inward Landscape (review)

E.L. Doctorow once said, “Writing is like driving a car at night: you never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” Reading A Language for the Inward Landscape was a similar self-actualizing experience. Like a coastal sailor navigating through a fog, the reader discovers more about their journey as they take it. The fog lifts, the sailor sees a familiar landmark. By taking a compass bearing on this landmark, the sailor has a better idea of their location: the bearing defines a line and the boat is somewhere on this line. There is a feeling of safety with this bit of clarity. The fog may return, but the sailor proceeds, a bit more confident in their journey.

On Garbage (November 2017)

Speaking of Animacy

How delighted we are when our children first begin to talk! What a miracle, what a joy! I have felt that joy and sense of the miraculous when that little being, my young child, could finally begin to share with me their wishes, thoughts, feelings, questions, and more – the first time they “used their words.” Even then, however, I was also aware of the drawbacks of learning our “native” spoken language. In the case of my own children, the language was English, and in learning this, I knew they would automatically be “pre-programmed” with the world-view inherent in English. This would limit where their minds could travel, just as learning a different “mother tongue” would limit their minds in a different way.

On Words (November 2021)

Some Notes on Quaker Speech

When Quakerism originated in the 17th century, English pronouns in all groups, with one major exception, had already achieved the forms we use today:

On Heritage (July 2016)

An Invitation to Play with God

“In Godly Play, the invitation is given not for play in general but for play with the language of God and God’s people; our sacred stories, parables, liturgical actions and silences. Through this powerful language, through our wondering, through the community of players gathered together, we hear the deepest invitation of all: an invitation to come play with God.”        – Jerome W Berryman, The Complete Guide to Godly Play (2002)

On Play (September 2015)

Talking the Walk of Peace

We know a lot about war talk. We speak of fighting crime, obesity, drugs, and climate change. I am currently “fighting” depression. But if Quakers seek alternatives to violence, we need to develop a practical language for building peace. It’s not enough to “smite the enemies” of the problems in our lives. [pullquote]We need to develop tools that will let us “peace together” all that we’ve broken in war.[/pullquote] I have found the framework of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) provides me with everyday language and practices that can help me increase my compassion towards myself and towards others.

On Reconciliation (January 2015)

Before “Things”

The language we necessarily use shapes our experience of the everyday world as a world of “things,” objects that we view from the outside. This is the case whether the “things” are apples, worlds, ideas, relationships, plans, or even the entire universe. We view and manipulate “things” as if we face them from a separate, outside position in which we seem to live.

On Beginning (March 2016)