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Language

When we label people, it keeps us from having to listen to what may be legitimate concerns about our own position. More than anything, labels reduce people to things. […] Read More

How should people committed to the teachings of Jesus respond to genocide? If Christians are going to stand in solidarity and empathy with those who have been marginalized, we must practice these four steps – at a minimum. […] Read More

The use of demeaning language is a first step to dehumanize people, which ultimately leads to suffering and possibly death. It’s been true in our history and is still true today. […] Read More

Our words have power. With our words we bless and with our words we curse. We can create an environment of peace and love or an atmosphere of anxiety and fear. How are you using your words? […] Read More

Jesus is God in the flesh. This assertion opens John’s Gospel through the proclamation, “the Word became flesh” (John 1:14). Theologians use a $4 word to describe this process, referring to it as “incarnation.” That Jesus took on a human body is a basic assertion of Christmas, for which the Advent season anticipates and prepares […] Read More

If some American universities get their way, “ze” and “xyr” will replace the gender pronouns “he” and “she” in the English language. The University of Tennessee’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion published a letter on the school’s website urging students and faculty members to discuss gender-neutral pronouns. “We should not assume someone’s gender by their […] Read More

Two of the most dangerous words in a minister’s vocabulary are, “Yes, but…” These are also two of the most destructive words a congregation will ever utter. The order of their utterance is important. First we say, “Yes. I agree. We agree. This is true and right.” â—     It is right that people matter more […] Read More

I attended the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts several years ago, and the professor of my screenplay-writing class took pains to warn me about it ahead of time. Knowing that I was a minister attending the course to study the comparisons between writing sermons and screenplays, she said to me, “Mike, in […] Read More

A Coca-Cola Super Bowl commercial has caused something of a kerfuffle. Due to the amount of commentary that has appeared on Twitter since last Sunday, I would like to state my two main points right up front. First, I believe that all people living in the United States of America should learn to speak “American,” […] Read More

In my previous post, I quoted Amos Wilder’s observation that “the language of a people is its fate.” What we say and how we say it shapes our lives. That column looked at the growing acceptance on profanity and the lack of civility it breeds. Profanity (language) shapes our fate (growing disrespect). Perhaps you’d expect a […] Read More