Monday, 23 October 2006
Totally like whatever, you know? Part 1
In case you hadn’t noticed,
it has somehow become uncool
to sound like you know what you’re talking about?
Or believe strongly in what you’re saying?
Invisible question marks and parenthetical (you know?)’s
have been attaching themselves to the ends of our sentences?
Even when those sentences aren’t, like, questions? You know?
Declarative sentences – so-called
because they used to, like, DECLARE things to be true
as opposed to other things which were, like, not –
have been infected by a totally hip
and tragically cool interrogative tone? You know?
Like, don’t think I’m uncool just because I’ve noticed this;
this is just like the word on the street, you know?
It’s like what I’ve heard?
I have nothing personally invested in my own opinions, okay?
I’m just inviting you to join me in my uncertainty?
What has happened to our conviction?
Where are the limbs out on which we once walked?
Have they been, like, chopped down
with the rest of the rain forest?
Or do we have, like, nothing to say?
Has society become so, like, totally . . .
I mean absolutely . . . You know?
That we’ve just gotten to the point where it’s just, like . . .
And so actually our disarticulation . . . ness
is just a clever sort of . . . thing
to disguise the fact that we’ve become
the most aggressively inarticulate generation
to come along since . . .
you know, a long, long time ago!
I entreat you, I implore you, I exhort you,
I challenge you: To speak with conviction.
To say what you believe in a manner that bespeaks
the determination with which you believe it.
Because contrary to the wisdom of the bumper sticker,
it is not enough these days to simply QUESTION AUTHORITY.
You have to speak with it, too.
By Taylor Mali
Why do you suppose (as the poem says) there is pressure out there against saying what you believe or declaring something or speaking with conviction?
If you speak with conviction you are declaring that you believe something to be true. This makes a lot of people uncomfortable because they don’t want to believe that there is any truth. If there is they would have to believe it. They’d rather just believe that we can each make up our own truths which would mean that we couldn’t speak strongly about our own truths since everyone was entitled to create truths for themselves. There is a belief out there like this. It is called relativism and comes from rejecting God.
As a Christian I believe in God. I speak with conviction about the things of God because I believe in the authority of Scripture. I believe that God is truth and that Scripture is true for all peoples, at all times, in all situations and that this is the case whether other people believe it or not.
Contrary to this pressure against speaking with certainty, how does God tell us to talk? What does the Bible say about the way we should speak?
And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Matthew 7v28-29
Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary says that “in New Testament times the scribes belonged to the sect of the Pharisees, who supplemented the ancient written law by their traditions (Matthew 23), thereby obscuring it and rendering it of none effect.” The scribes seemed to believe that they could make up their own truth. They didn’t speak with authority, and they were the public teachers at the time of Jesus’ ministry. No wonder the people were astonished at Jesus’ teaching. They weren’t used to hearing anyone speaking with authority. We should follow Jesus’ example and speak with authority: the authority of Scripture.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16
And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. 2 Timothy 2v24-26
If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4v11
As Christians, we are the only ones who can speak with authority, so let’s take advantage of this (!) remembering also to speak with gentleness and humility. We are the only ones who can speak with authority because we have the truth. That is to say, we speak with authority to the degree that what we say comes from Scripture, not simply because we are speaking as Christians. God’s Word, not ours, has authority. When we speak God’s Word, we speak with authority. So let us study Scripture so we can speak with increasing certainty and conviction the more we come to understand God’s Word.
For the Greater Glory of God through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,