a hard time with words.

I’m taking a course about missions. I’m struggling with some of the reading. It talks about God’s glory and about worship and it’s written to people who are way inside church.

It’s perfectly good language. But I work so hard to not write the way these authors write that I have a hard time understanding them.

Which is good. It is good that I have to wrestle hard to understand concepts that I have acted as if I understand for decades.

That’s not an exaggeration. I heard one of the articles delivered as a sermon 38 years ago. I included some of these articles in my dissertation research thirty years ago. But I’m working to understand in simple words rather than spiritual shorthand. And finding it hard.

For example, glory and glorify. What do they mean? For Andrew, years and years ago, the glory of God was the look of the beams of sun shining down between clouds in a stormy sky. But giving God glory and showing His glory. That’s rough to explain or describe without using words like, well, glorious.

And worship (without falling into debates about music and sleepiness). And mission (as opposed to missions and cultural imperialism).

I’m not complaining. If I’m going to struggle with understanding, it may as well be about God rather than about footballs. And it is a reminder that when I get lazy in my own writing and use cultural shorthand, I could be causing grief for you.

But it sure gets in the way of easy writing.

(If you have any easy ways to explain glory, let me know.)

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

3 thoughts on “a hard time with words.

  1. It’s encouraging to hear another person talking about spiritual shorthand. One reason I’ve appreciated these blog posts is that story and narrative are used to illustrate the concept. I wonder sometimes if we should be willing to communicate less at a time and use narrative more so no one is left out of the conversation. I may need to work on that.

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