Thursday, October 17, 2013

Why Words Matter: "Nothing can ever be either/or"

Lyn G. Brakeman (pictured above left), an Episcopal priest in Boston who attended Why Words Matter, a workshop sponsored by both Lifelong Learning@EDS and the Massachusetts Council of Churches, writes about her experience on her blog Spiritual Lemons:

The Rev. Dr. Stephen Burns, a presbyter of the Church of England who teaches worship at EDS, cited two dynamics at work in this renewed conversation. “It’s a different conversation from former conversations.” 
CONTEXT. Expansive language means that our language system is ever expanding, an emergent design, you might say. It advocates that we must be aware of the worship context of liturgical space,  styles of worship, and practices. In other words, just changing language without awareness of the culture of a worshiping community could be too superficial and a naive strategy at best, a manipulation at worst.  
JUSTICE.  Consider the “other” when we use language to dismantle oppression. For example. how do we speak about our hierarchies? Erasing patriarchal language ought not to erase the history in which we are embedded. Burns said he eliminated all exclusive language, like addressing God as Father in his personal prayer life. “But then I had a son, and I was a father.”  Nothing can ever be either/or, I guess. 

Read more at Lyn's blog.