Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Emergent Conversations Hijacking Language?
Yesterday, over at the Reformation21 blog, Rodney Trotter posted an interesting entry: "Hijacking Language." (I only wish the folks at Ref21 would let us know who all of their blog contributors are. Maybe I am not as up to speed as I should be, but I don't recognize the names of some of their bloggers. Who is Rodney Trotter?) Here's Trotter's post:
One of the most interesting aspects of modernity has to be the way it hijacked language.
'New' and all of its cognates became synonymous with 'good' and 'true' while 'old' etc. became similarly associated with bad, mediocre etc.
It is, of course, the obvious way for any movement to gain strength: grab a monopoly on certain terms and idioms, and refuse to allow the enemy, whoever that might be, to use them.
Interesting, then, that language such as 'conversation' has been grabbed by certain groups as the key leitmotif of their theology while 'divisive' is frequently hurled by the same at any perceived critic. What is truly tragic is that this hijacking of language ultimately reflects two things: first, an aesthetic view of truth, where truth becomes identified rather with a style than with claims about reality; and, second, a deceptive approach to the real agenda being pushed, which is frequently far from 'conversational' in the way it dismisses viewpoints with which it disagrees without the courtesy of demonstrating why they are wrong in terms of content, not simply tone. The agenda is more often than not extremely divisive: by making truth a negotiable function of, say, communitarian language games, then all those (i.e., almost everyone in any branch of the church down to nearly the present day) who thinks in referential truth categories is excluded from the conversation. How divisive is that?
But who are the truly divisive? Surely, divisiveness is less a function of doctrine and aesthetics and more a function of basic morality. The divisive are most frequently those who spread malicious, false rumours about others and have the audacity to do it in the name of theological tolerance. Let the reader understand.