Here are a few more words I’d like to share from Practicing Resurrection by Eugene Peterson. The words are about depersonalizing people into roles, and only roles they live out. …as if life were nothing more than some kind of pseudo-scientific expression of these roles and that if/when you figured out your role (as the culture expects you to play them out, of course) you’re considered “excellent.”
Roles, I believe, can drain the life and expression of life from a person. They reduce the adventure and journey that life is into a mathematical connecting of dots. …a reduction of people into what they can do, produce or what their culture expects them to be.
Prayer, can be similar.
Here are the words from Practicing Resurrection:
As we become increasingly proficient in the language of naming and defining and describing, the personal, relational aspects of language recede as we learn to talk our way competently though a world made up [by human objectives] mostly of things to arrange and work to do. In the process, sadly, we “thingify” persons. More often than not, the words we use and listen to are in the context of the roles that we are given to play: students, customers, employers, workers, competitors, all of whom could just as well be, and often are, nameless…
…as language becomes impersonal, the world becomes depersonalized.
…prayer is personal language or it is nothing.
…When we use impersonal language in this most personal of all relations [prayer], the language doesn’t work. And when we listen to Scripture and in silence to what the personal God has to say to us in our unique personhood, anticipating information or answers and not hearing anything remotely like that, we don’t know what to make of it.
…The language we are really fluent in, the language we are most used to, deals with impersonal data and functionalized roles. The practice of prayer, if it is going to amount to anything more than wish lists and complaints, requires a recovery of personal, relational, revelational language in both our listening and our speaking.