Rosenstock-Huessy (The Christian Future or the Modern Mind Outrun (The Cloister Library), 130) note that language, like all life, deteriorates naturally “from inspiration to routine”: “Every time we speak we eiyther renew or cheapen the words we use.”
Christian language is no exception: “Christian language can be abused like any other. . . . . Looking back into the past, we can see that whole streams of Christian language have cooled off into geological stratifications. The languages of the saints and martyrs, crusaders and pilgrims, no longer move men’s hearts. Neither the ritual of the mass – that flawless creation of the first millennium – nor the sublime language of Canaan in the Protestant Bible suffice to create peace between men today.”
But Christianity is endless renewal, also in its language: “when the bread of life has gone stale, it has been refreshed again and again by a new transubstantiation. These transformations of living speech-in-action are the real sacrament of the Spirit, and if we walk humbly under our bankruptcy today, we may hope to hear the Word spoken once more.”
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Monday, August 6, 2012 at 8:44 am
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