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Thursday, July 03, 2014
I have just begun to teach Buddhism to my students for this term, and an aspect of the teachings of Buddha is the conscientious distribution of our words. The title of this aspect is “Right Speech,” as opposed to speech that harms, causes disharmony and isn’t truthful.

When I went back to school to become a journalist, I was part of a leadership camp, and it was there that I realized part of my “mission” was to help people realize the power of words. I hesitate, because I’m never one to tell others how to act, let alone speak. But as I hear the political discourse in all levels of government, I’m continually amazed at the dynamic in the discourse between people that’s anything but harmonious and compassion-based.

My friend Rev. Trudy Bradley, who passed away just about two years ago, was someone who reminded me that this world could use people to add to the level of compassion activated in the world. That’s what we’re here for, she would say.

I am reading Marcus Borg’s “Speaking Christian,” which I know some members at Kairos-Milwaukie have read. I am just getting started reading it, but to someone who cringes every time a Christian uses language that the ancient Christians would not even recognize, it is a breath of fresh air to see on paper that the language of Jesus may have been polarizing, but it certainly was meant to unify everyone in the eyes of a compassionate God. What happened to that language? I have not always recognized this embracing dynamic of Jesus as I talk with Christians of all kinds. The language used can be very limiting—you can only speak this language this way to be Christian. For a time, I wasn’t sure I was Christian according to some. Ironically, it was Marcus Borg that helped me see otherwise. I aspire to be involved in the model that Jesus set, which represents what it means to be compassionate in action. Period. End of language.

Christian language can still be used as a weapon against those not in agreement, who may also be Christian! It’s so funny. We have sometimes made religion us versus them, when religion is supposed to be about unifying under one God! Did you know that’s the original translation of the root word of religion, religio. It means to tie or fasten—in other words, you could say it’s a form of unite.

So words within Christianity does not have to bind us to any one way to see Jesus or our faith. Let’s be uniting with our words. 

In Peace that comes with a compassionate heart,


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Kairos-Milwaukie UCC Blog

Reflections on the Revised Common Lectionary by Rev. Rick Skidmore and Rev. Jim Ogden.

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