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Posts tagged "Language"

Harsh Words and the Uncontrollable Power of the Tongue

This one was written by John Sloan. It’s a strange thing to remember, but I recall the scenario like it was yesterday. I was sitting in the back of my seventh grade class at Clara E. Weisenborn Junior High when, from the front row, a fellow student interrupted the teacher for a poorly timed and […]

The Convenient Battlefield of Language, or, “This Zadie Smith Is Everything”

On the Internet, a word that will always get attention is “Actually.” You can bet it will be followed by such-and-such a reason why so-and-so is wrong, and what could be more interesting? Especially among wordy or academic types, language is so prolific that drawing lines of what should and shouldn’t be said seems imperative, […]

Moral Ground Must Be Shored Up By Mercy: In Memory of Toni Morrison

“She is a friend of my mind… The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order.” So wrote the famed novelist Toni Morrison in Beloved, in a passage describing a love that goes deeper than the physical, engendering self-worth. Such love runs throughout many of the […]

The Problem with Paradise (According to Toni Morrison)

Toni Morrison’s Paradise (1997) begins with a startling act of violence, then, in a landscape of confounding spirituality, unfolds the stories of several different women. The book was, in part, one novelist’s answer to a question that will be familiar to anyone interested in the language of faith. How might religion be rendered in a […]

When Kiss Means Kill: Reflections on the Apocalypse of Language

“As the cool stream gushed over one hand, she spelled into the other the word water, firstly slowly then rapidly. I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motion of her fingers. Suddenly I felt the misty consciousness as of something forgotten—a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed […]

A Mockingbird Guide to 10 Current Colloquialisms

Compiled by Friends of Mockingbird John and Anne Nolon, Liz and Duo Dickinson, Betsy and Larry Roadman, Paul and Mary Zahl, and The Rev. Nancy W. Hanna: 1) “It’s all good.” Meaning: It’s not all good, something has gone badly amiss. And I absolutely don’t want to admit it. 2) “It is what it is.” […]

Language as Empathy: Compassion and the Grace of Expression

Over at The American Scholar, acclaimed poet Christian Wiman wrote an essay, entitled “Mortify Our Wolves“, on his sickness with cancer and the dynamics of loss more generally – from the perspective of a preternaturally articulate Christian and sufferer. For those interested in language, empathy, pastoral care, or just about anything else in the world, […]

PZ’s Podcast, 80-83: I’ll Catch The Sun, Violette Amoureuse, Speaking in Tongues, and I’m Younger Than That Now

EPISODE 80: I’ll Catch The Sun This is about sentimentality. I’m not so bearish about sentimentality as I once was. In fact, I’m pretty bullish on it these days. Yes, I know: “Sentimentality (is supposed to be) long-term cruelty.” And some well-known dictators have been a lot nicer to their pets than to their subjects. […]

The Verbal Dynamics of Spiritual Cousins, or, The Trouble with Talking Theologically

Nothing’s lost. Or else: all is translation / And every bit of us is lost in it. —James Merrill, “Lost in Translation” A Simple Conversation It may be more strenuous to discuss theology with my theological cousin than with another with whom I have only a passing ideological kinship. Language simultaneously hides, reveals, and obscures differences in […]

Ti Legeis En Koine?

Some very funny seminarians! Now for those of us who have never studied koine (myself included), some explanations make this little video a whole lot more fun: Koine was the Greek language spoken and written in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, and it’s the language in which the New Testament scriptures were originally written. Exegetical […]