"If the language that clothes Christianity is not dead, it is at least, for many dying ... Take any English word, even the most commonplace and try repeating it twenty times in a row - umbrella ... by the time we have finished, umbrella will not be a word any more. It will be a noise only, an absurdity, stripped of all meaning. And when we take even the greatest and most meaningful words that Christian faith has and repeat them over and over again for some two thousand years, much the same thing happens. There was a time when such words as faith, sin, redemption and atonement had great depth of meaning, great reality; but through centuries of handling and mishandling they have tended to become empty banalities that just the mention is apt to turn people's minds off like a switch."
Buechner, F (1966:110ff) The Magnificent Defeat.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
It has been sometime since I looked out another lost theme . The irony of reading this was not lost on me the day that we looked at lost themes in mission. Buechner seems to share a similar frustration. There is a danger in mishandling the words that hold the essence of faith.