do we care what we say?

In chapter 9 of Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis tells the story of Professor Kirk, a teacher he studied under. From the first encounter, Kirk challenged him. The first thing Lewis said to Kirk was that he had not expected the wildness of the scenery on his trip to the school.

“Stop!” Kirk said. “What do you mean by wildness and what grounds had you for not expecting it?”

Lewis was surprised. He was just making conversation. And here was this man picking apart his small talk. Lewis gave answer after answer but Kirk tore them to shreds. Lewis said he knew Kirk wanted a real answer. As Lewis said, “I was stung into attempting a real answer.”

Kirk refused to allow for meaningless conversation. Far too often, we allow meaningless, sloppy, and incorrect conversation to fill our lives. When it comes to a trip to school and the scenery one sees, the impact is minimal. But, when conversations on all levels are filled with a series of meaningless jargon and empty phrases, we are engaged in some very unreal communication.

We often mock “Sunday School Answers.” Sunday School Answers are answers the teacher wants to hear, or at least what we believe they want to hear. They have nothing to do with real thinking.

We need to challenge each other in conversation. We need to ask real questions and ask for real answers. In a world of spin, we need people to say, “Stop. What do you mean…”


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