From July until October I shall be releasing one small excerpt of my new book, Who Needs Words, on the first day of each month until publication. In the excerpt below,consideration is given to the idea of the prophetic voice.
A fortress mentality which sets Christians against the wicked world ‘out there’ leads to a kind of communication which breeds fear and misunderstanding. Those who fear they will be misunderstood often end up fulfilling their own prophecy, because their message comes out in a garbled mixture of jargon and arrogance which alienates their listener straight away. If I am convinced that you will reject what I am going to say anyway, then it can make me very careless in the way I communicate it. Equally, if I think that you are so spiritually dull, or so antagonistic to my beliefs that you are bound not to understand them, then I will make little effort to help you understand them when I speak. If I have convinced myself that you are fundamentally opposed to the beliefs which I hold dear, then the communication space between us becomes so infused with hostility and fear that any reasonable communication becomes impossible. It is true that many Western European nations have moved away from their former Christian heritage. This certainly requires great care in crossing the communication gap. However, if Christians simply shout louder to guarantee a hearing, people on the other side will just turn away and go in search of more peaceful conversation elsewhere.
In such a context, those who call themselves prophets may actually court controversy and relish opposition as proof of their spiritual authenticity. Accusations of bigotry, arrogance and intransigence bounce off them like pebbles thrown at the armour plating of a tank. Like the tank they advance remorselessly, crushing everything before them, and leaving many things flattened in their wake. This does not mean that there is no place for the prophetic voice. What is needed is the ability to express prophetic insight in such a way that others will feel inclined to listen to it.
Who Needs Words can be pre-ordered through the Saint Andrew Press.