In HOPE 7.15                                  back to home                        David Timms

Ministry Resource

I entitled last week's editorial "It's About Him." Gary Molander is a good friend of mine and one of our e-community members. He dropped me a note to say that he had produced a short video for churches along the exact same lines, in connection with worship. It's excellent. If you'd like to see it, go to www.floodgate This particular video is available as a free download from that site. There are also other resoruces that might be of interest to you to enhance your worship services.

Hope Happenings

Last weekend we conducted the May Commencement program and graduated 155 students from Hope International University. Jeff Walling, from the Providence Road Church of Christ in Charlotte, North Carolina gave an outstanding address.

Hope International University
Fullerton  CA  92831

"Prayer ... is not language about God or the faith; it is not language in the service of God and the faith; it is language to and with God in faith." --Eugene Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor

The Lost Language

We are all tri-lingual. Not that we speak English, Spanish, and Mandarin or other combinations of national languages. These headings simply denote the symbols that we use and the order of our words and their structure. Within those headings we speak the three universal languages of information, motivation, and intimacy.

Information is language about; motivation is language for; intimacy is the language of being and connecting.

Schools primarily speak information; parents, pastors, coaches, and politicians often speak the language of motivation; musicians, poets, children, and lovers generally speak the language of intimacy.

We all begin life speaking intimacy. A baby coos and ahhhs, giggles and grins. Without words, they snuggle into our hearts. We then head for school where we learn the language of information. We see a world that is so much larger than mommy and daddy and we want to know about it. Finally, we realize that words can influence and inspire people for action, so we learn the language of motivation.

In the process of learning information and motivation, we often lose the language of intimacy. We may have short bursts of revival -- chatting endlessly with a boyfriend/girlfriend, or reverting to nonsensical noises with a baby -- but those bursts fade all too quickly. People respect knowledge and inspiration so the languages of information and motivation take center stage.

The church has yielded to this same phenomenon. Pulpits and classrooms, pews and lounge-rooms become platforms for teaching and exhorting. And our first language becomes a lost language.

We get glimpses of the disused language when we hear murmurs and amens during prayer. The language of intimacy also finds voice in music and poetry -- though proponents of information and motivation object to repetitious or "shallow" lyrics.

Is it possible that our loss of the language of intimacy has produced churches and believers who know more about Christ and would do much for Christ but struggle to enjoy simply being with Christ? Have we discarded or devalued the language we most need for a deeper walk with Christ?

A change of language will challenge our status quo. Intimacy is far less "safe" and precise than information or motivation. But its primal nature makes it the most meaningful and relational language of all.

How's your fluency in this ancient language? May we re-discover it and enjoy the journey with Christ.



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David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board of the institution. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.