Monday, 29 October 2007

The peril of personal pronouns

This blog is prompted by a variety of sources - partly from reading Ron Sider; partly from my thoughts about yesterday's sermon at church; partly by the Hideous one's comments on my last entry; and partly (and recurringly) by my bete noir at work.

Ignoring the last source to avoid another rant-a-long, it strikes me that evangelical churches are prone to emphasising personal salvation as opposed to tackling societal injustice etc. (This isn't the main thrust of this blog, and to avoid confusion - I know that we need to deal with both elements.)

The point is that our churches tend to use singular pronouns a lot of the time - for example, yesterday our pastor asked 'where are you being called to engage with the real world?' It's a fair enough question, but I think it's even more relevant to ask 'where are WE being called to engage with the real world?'

The song that I was moaning about yesterday would be more tolerable if it said "WE want ..."

When I was a student I recall Professor Whyte saying that he preferred credal statements to be use plural forms - "We believe ..." This served two purposes - to reinforce the communal nature of church, and also to overcome any theological difficulties with any of the statements!

Of course WE is not just a cop out. WE needs to be a statement of identification and support - it's not about shifting MY responsibility to YOU. I remain accountable, but there is great strength and witness in WE.

OK - grammar lesson over!


That Hideous Man said...

Too right, well said, and Amen!

That Hideous Man said...

Been thinking and reading more about this and the following:

Gal 2:20, "the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me!"


Eph 5:25 "Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her"

perhaps together suggest the indispensibility of both the "I" and the "We" in professions of faith?