writer’s block

the more i write, the more i realize the inadequacy of words. (as someone once said, why doesn’t “pig” mean “bubble”? the word “pig” is so light and airy. why are we so rigid in our definitions? why don’t we sometimes rely on pure sounds?)

in addition, the more i write, the greater my frustration becomes at the confines of christianity.

various factors have spotlighted these dissatisfactions.

being hundreds of thousands of miles apart from my husband for months has cheapened verbal or writte language in lieu of a far greater cry our hearts are uttering to the other.

sharing my faith journey with non-believers, i continually get stumped on communication barriers drilled into me by the church such as ‘born again,’ ‘salvation,’ ‘sin’ and ‘righteousness.’ when did we ever assume that creating a separate dictionary for the church would increase its impact upon seekers? (for this reason i thank eugene peterson for ‘the message’).

wanting to write a poem about God yet only being able to come up with cliches from Psalms or from Footprints.

wanting to share the awesomeness of my Creator with someone without using the word ‘awesome.’

wanting to be able to express the feeling of ‘redemption’ without knowing it was ever termed that.

wanting to be ‘lost’ without being able to define it, and to find salvation without knowing what that means.

wanting to know the excruciating affect of sin on God’s heart without reducing the action to ‘sin’ or God’s massiveness to ‘heart.’

wanting to love Christ with all of my heart, soul and mind, rather than just my mouth or my pen.

even the word ‘evangelical’ as a noun is untranslatable into most of the world’s languages. what was it that Jesus said? “go into all the world and preach the gospel”? how can we, if we don’t speak the same language as ‘the world’?

i’ve realized what Tatiana Goricheva, a Russian philosopher, so adequately put despite being forced to limit herself to words:

“for the first time i understood how dangerous it is to talk about God. each word must be a sacrifice — filled to the brim with authenticity. otherwise it is better to keep silent.” (Talking About God is Dangerous)

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5 Comments

  1. bro said,

    July 6, 2007 at 3:18 am

    i like that Jesus spoke in parables. i also like that his actions are what saved us, not his words. in this, he really is the Word. his life communicated in any language.

  2. abbagirl74 said,

    July 6, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    I don’t believe you are at a loss for words when you write from the heart, which you have done here. I love reading your posts on religion and God. You make it simpler for me to understand, and for that I am grateful. I know how you must be feeling with the distance. Precious time. So precious.

  3. anomi said,

    July 7, 2007 at 2:51 am

    I know exactly what you mean Em, and you’ve expressed it so well, as usual. Some things can’t be put into words and it’s frustrating trying to do so – but I think you manage it marvellously. I said marvellous. Am I a pensioner?

  4. Pa Dow said,

    July 7, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    Well SAID (even given the confines of words). How much is it that the world has abandoned the vocabulary of the church, rather than the church creating its own?

  5. Annie said,

    July 7, 2007 at 8:35 pm

    Found in Translation

    God gives us metaphors by which to know
    Mysterious truths too mighty to be spoken;
    The task of speech to lend an understanding
    Of things themselves – to be a sign, a token.
    The tongues of earth no meaning can assign
    Reality – but rather the reverse:
    For all are born into a world which hears,
    And echoes with the Word that we rehearse.
    Then knowledge follows humble observation
    Of creation’s silent eloquence,
    And finds the universe is but a poem,
    With glory brought to focus through a lens.
    Thus Immanuel is ever heard
    In literal faith that spans not speech, but Word.

    -Annie Skelton (Sept 05)


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