Some thoughts for rush-hour consideration.

I’ve got five minutes and wanted to post *something* today, so here are some things kicking around in my head.

  1. Over the last couple of days, I’ve gotten a peek at just how much some atheists actively hate the idea of God. Only a fraction of it has been directed at me, but in a couple of places (online, naturally), I’ve seen the mask of civility slip a bit. When it did, I was taken aback. The problem with this is: I shouldn’t be surprised by it. I think, objectively, I *know* that those who are opposed to God hate the very thought of Him, but I have insulated myself from it so much that it catches me off-guard from time to time. This tells me that I need to get outside of my bubble and interact with more non-believers.
  2. More and more, I’m seeing that what we believe about the Bible (and what we believe we are able to know about the Bible) affects every part of our Christian lives. This only underscores how much theology matters in everyday real life, because the question of truth and authority and worldview touches everything from how we spend money to how we use time to how we interact with others.
  3. There’s also the idea I recently mentioned on Twitter about “proper grammar” as a racist/colonialist construct. I don’t have time to get into it fully right now (and I may not ever), but I want to suggest this idea for your consideration: Language is not only a component of culture and community, but it is also a tool with very practical intentions. This means that when we endeavor to interact with communities and cultures different than ours, language is one means of doing so, however imperfect and laden with subtext as it can often be. So the idea of “proper” or “standardized” grammar isn’t merely a means of enforcing “majority dominance”–it’s an acknowledgement that we live in a multi-cutural/multi-communal society, and a common or standardized language is one tool for ensuring that the members of a minority culture or sub-culture are not ghettoized by ignorance of the lingua franca. (And I write this with the acknowledgement that I can only speak abstractly or from my own experience.)

Please feel free to engage with any of the preceding. Consider them discussion post prompts, if you like. Be kind in the comments. See you on Monday.

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2 thoughts on “Some thoughts for rush-hour consideration.

  1. Great point about standardized language. Clear standards are not oppressive toward people. In fact, they are an acknowledgement of reality: 1) Grammar is a necessity if we value clear communication. 2) There will be standards. 3) When there are competing standards, society’s best educated are in the best position to determine which standard is best.

    You’re on to a helpful idea. The standards actually help those to whom the standards come as a second dialect. It gives them a chance to make the choice about how to present themselves. I’ve heard standard English characterised as “cash English.” That’s another helpful acknowledgement of reality.

    • I think it’s important to recognize the counter-arguments here, as well: that language “standards” are usually decided by the dominant culture, and can be used as a way to force uniformity and change of identity. I don’t think these ideas should be laughed off. And the idea of “proper” grammar does carry with it a tone of superiority–that’s why I chose the term “standardized” instead of “proper.” But as you and I both said, Cody, people have to live in the real world and function as a member of a diverse society, which makes a shared, standardized language a useful tool in contributing to the culture at large.

      I would be curious to hear from people who disagree on this issue (though none of the people I saw discussing this would be my usual readers).

      Thanks for the feedback.

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