Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Spiritual Practices: Why the complex language?

I love reading the vast literature that has been published over the last ten years on spiritual practices or spiritual disciplines. But I get troubled by the consistent use of language that assumes the reader has a college education. I guess this assumption is made because most resources seem to use a lot of Latin words. They talk about things like "lectio divina", "purgation", "solitude", "Psalms of lament", and "the daily office". Who talks like that? Why can't we use words so that we all know what we are talking about, like "dwelling in the Word", "purging", "alone with God", Psalms of sorrow", and ... well I've not come up with a good term to replace "the daily office" yet. Any ideas?

I grew up on the farm, and while I have read more than my fair share of 500 page books that use lots of "five-dollar words," I still talk language that my friends from high school could understand. I don't feel the need to talk smart. Why would I want to talk about the spiritual life in a way that would alienate people. We've done enough of that. Haven't we?

If you have some insight about some good reasons for using these words, please let me know. I'm all ears.


Randall Neighbour said...

Purging? Are you serious?

If it isn't proceeding by binging, I'm totally lost on the meaning. Even this word is too big for a regular Joe like me.

Scott Boren said...

I was wondering if I could get away with "purging" but you are right. Getting this in common language will take some work.

charlieschurchofchrist said...

I'm actually cooking up some posts right now about how academics in Christianity has lots of downfalls - and I think making spirituality some sort of elite academic pursuit is one of them.

Josh Hunt said...

The smarter the person, the shorter the words they use.

Josh Hunt
Good Questions Have Groups Talking