There was a Latin saying I learned early on in my Latin studies and has has stuck with me through the years:
Vestis reddit virum.
Translated it means “Clothing makes the man.” Whether or not you think that is a valid philosophy (I know some would say so), I offer to you another phrase, one that I am convinced is true:
Verbis reddit virum.
“Words make a man.” I believe this goes two ways. First, as Luke 6:45 says, “…out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” The words that we say do make us who we are, because those words are what reside in our heart, and have come to be known by others. Second, words have power over what we do, how we act, and can shape us. When I tell my wife every morning that she looks beautiful, she will think, “In the morning, my husband says I am beautiful; I must be beautiful to him.” Or when I tell myself that this coming week I will be overwhelmed and unproductive at work, I will most likely be overwhelmed and unproductive in the coming week (self-fulfilling prophecy, anyone?)
Words are powerful. Words that we say to others, to ourselves, about ourselves, can bind us or loosen us. (Christ’s truth alone can truly set us free, John 8:32)
Words that I type here are as powerful as spoken words. This summer I have thought why I have failed as a blogger. Time? Priorities? Content? Inspiration? While all of those may be true, I pinpoint the reason to something outside of those: What words I “spoke” regarding this blog.
My blog was “A Road Less Traveled, adventures in mere Christianity.” Harmless at the surface, but packed with a false perception of myself and what I intended to write about. I feel it gave me a sense of entitlement that I myself was alone on a road that not many were willing to travel. And as this lone adventurer I would leave breadcrumbs for you to follow me in my journey. Basically that I had found “the way” to be a mere Christian, and no one else knew. Blasphemy. I am surrounded by courageous brothers and sisters that are all on this journey same as I, and they have as valid a voice as I. There are others not near me (physically or philosophically) that are also traversing this path. In sum, I was a blockhead.
My goal is closer to thinking, processing, and discussing. I want to share random thoughts, occasional fat nuggets, devotional pieces, scriptural morsels, not how I think things should be done. In high school I took a Humanity and Worldview course in which we studied Francis A. Schaeffer’s, “How Should We Then Live”. This book has been foundational in my worldview and how I process philosophies and culture.
My goal all along has been to answer this question: In light of what happens in our world, culture, and community, how should we then live?
What’s changing? Before, I felt like I was expected to deliver answers to my questions, which deterred me from sharing my questions in the first place. Now, I feel liberated to share my questions, without feeling a need to always (or ever) provide an answer. The perpetual, driving question will always be, how should we then live?
Please, re-join me in my question-asking endeavor, and please, engage with me as I think about our world and culture, and our role in living with eternity in mind, on this terrestrial globe. I have overhauled majority of the blog (design, content, and url, ryandembeck.wordpress.com), so please take a look around and I welcome any feedback!
If you have thoughts and reactions about the power of words that I talked about in the beginning–post your thoughts below!