This may be a shock, but I’m thinking God doesn’t really speak English.  I mean, of course, he can speak English, as presumably he can speak anything he wants, but what I’m saying is that I don’t really think English is his native language.

Furthermore, when God speaks, I think he speaks in his native language, then we translate to English or whatever other language it is we speak.  In doing so, of course, some things get lost in the translation.  Of course, it’s possible that things get added in the translation, too, but adding things to God’s language would probably result in what should be called a loss.

Really, it seems it would be be impossible to add anything to something that God could say in his language and actually improve on what he says.  So, let’s consider anything that’s added, or subtracted, from what God says, during the translation effort, as being a loss.

Then, of course, after the translation, we like to take it a few steps further and explain the translation.  Translation:  we dumb it down for mass consumption.  More gets lost, and more becomes less.

So, acknowledging a prevailing tone of cynicism in the way this post is developing but pressing on unabashedly, what I’m saying is that pretty much everything we recognize as our world – the methods, the cultures, the styles, the morality, the worship, the books, the arts, the counsel, the teaching, the advice – are a diminished translation of what God said; a dumbed down version of what God spoke into existence.

I agree, the idea that we’ve screwed up what God intended, isn’t an original thought.  We all pretty well know that.  But, weak as it may be, I’m actually trying to hit a slightly different point – frankly, that even though we know we’ve screwed it up, we still persist in perpetuating the problem, and mostly because it’s just too weird to actually let the native language of God say what it says.

Our predicament, I think, stems from the fact that we just can’t stop translating.  Inherently, the translation weakens the voice, but we can’t help it.  God’s native language may not be English or Italian or Spanish or Chinese or Swahili or whatever, but ours are.  Aren’t they?  Well?  What is our native language?  Are we just refusing to speak it, or at least acknowledge it?

What is God’s native language?  That’s the question this line of thought begs as it rattles around my brain.  A conversation with my daughter, Hannah, at the The Crown Pub tonight has given me what might be a clue, but I’ll save you the chase and get to the big finish.

I think the language God speaks can be heard in the groaning of the human soul.  I know that’s too abstract to be very helpful, but keep in mind, this is English.

Tonight, I’m wondering if God’s native language is the one we hear when we want to do something radical, like go on a random, unreasonable, unjustified, unnecessary road trip.  What God would be speaking would not be the road trip, but the desire that gets translated into a road trip.

Maybe it’s the inspiration that strikes just before a painting, or just before a sentence, or just before a prayer, or a conversation, or a spice gets added to the recipe.  Maybe God’s voice is heard just before the thought strikes or the plan takes shape.  Maybe it’s the preface of grief or anger, sorrow or disdain.

Maybe the translation is the action or emotion or idea, but the language of God is the precursor to any and all of those things.

They say, whoever they are, that you know you are becoming fluent in a new language when you no longer take the mental step to translate it into your original language and then back again.

I’m wishing I could hear God’s native language and communicate fluently enough so as not to engage in translation.  Just to hear the groaning and let it speak, then respond in like manner and be satisfied.

That’s weird, huh?

7 thoughts on “Godspeak”

  1. Dale, just wanted to check in and let you know I’m still reading! You really have a gift! The only problem I find with reading your blog is that it makes me miss your family so much. 😀 Give my hugs to Renee and all.


  2. The language of God. What a beautiful thought.

    It could be math, but that lacks emotion; or groanings which cannot be uttered, but where is the logic?; or music which combines math with an emotional twist, but what language does God use when he sings us to sleep? How about this: The language of God is the sum total of everything, we are a story he is in the middle of telling and it seems so real we believe we’re alive and living it. Probably not true (what is truth?), but a poetic thought nonetheless…


  3. I do think God’s voice is heard in all inspirations, wherever your actions give you comfort – creating art, making dinner, serving, giving, loving.

    I believe it’s easier to hear if you don’t try to force it to mean what you expect it to, or try to place it within cultural restraints so that it fits what you think you already know.

    If you (or anyone) is open and willing to be guided, those words are there.

    If you (or anyone) insists on comparing those words with words already spoken and finding them less, those new words will go unheard. God doesn’t seem to speak to our ears, but to our souls, and it is a different kind of hearing, a different kind of processing. Those words are for the world’s highest good; but from our small place in our existence we cannot always see that. We have to listen, really listen, and strive to be open to receiving it without judgment. 🙂


  4. Nathan – “we are a story he is in the middle of telling” – The suspense is killing me. Really. I love that thought. I believe I’m alive and living it. He tells the story, therefore I am.

    Tracy in L.A. – Well said. Thank you.


  5. It’s a sad thing. Clumsiness.

    Interpretation is one of those things that closely resembles a surgeon with oven mitts on. How delicate is the charge to communicate what God has asked you to share…

    Sometimes I wake with a vision of my next painting. It’s an urgent, terrible, beautiful, luminous feeling…then, as the seconds pass and my eyes adjust, the image that was so crisp blurs. The elements change and I try my hardest to recreate what I thought it said.

    However, fleeting beauties are better than none at all.


  6. the answer to “what language does God speak?” is an obvious one. let me explain; no, there is too much, let me sum up: God is love and therefore speaks the language of love. the language of love is, of course, french. problem solved, or maybe i’m an idiot. no, i think problem solved!


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