Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

Genesis 11:1-9:
Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2And as they migrated from the east, they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”

5The Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. 6And the Lord said, “Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” 8So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. 9Therefore it was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

Wow. There's a lot of human nature packed into nine verses, here. This was the lesson in my EFM class this past Sunday. I picked up on two things that sort of made me realize the J author of Genesis had a sense of ironic humor--one was that this "great edifice" was made of cheap mud brick, the "ordinary material" of the realm at the time--not the finest stone, which would have been the mark of a "good" building then.

The other was the builders think this tower is so tall, so wonderful, reaching to the heavens, and when God says, "Come, let us go DOWN..." Not "over". DOWN. Like, "It's pretty puny."

Isn't that how it always seems to be? The great edifices we think we are building for ourselves, our security, the things we think are our greatest testaments to ourselves...well, they're really just made of mud brick. Ordinary stuff. When we want to "show off" to God, He sort of goes, "Well, gee...that is a cute LITTLE thing...yeah, it's nice! Sorta SMALL, but nice. But let ME show you something..." and then he proceeds to humble us simply with what he is capable of on an ordinary basis!

The other part of this story that says so much more is the phrase, "confuse their language." I think about how, so many times, we all speak our native tongue, but our language is "confused." We certainly seem to have a lot of "confused language" when it comes to talking about God, and what worshiping Him is all about. We have confusion between liturgical and evangelical worship, theism vs. atheism, or even confusion between Episcopalians and "breakaway Anglicans." Yet we say every Sunday we are "one holy catholic and apostolic church." I don't think we're lying, but we certainly are confused about a lot of that.

I've come to realize that God doesn't really need edifices; He'd rather make US our edifices. His language, the language of the heart, is not confusing at all; we are the source of the confusion. The more I can take "me" out of the loop, the less confusing and more clear the language seems. Not a bad plan, actually!


Hmmmm...maybe you had a link on Facebook that got into my subconscious some how. I started out pondering how difficult it is to speak to Truth - no one listens, no one believes you, you're seen as a malcontent, you're mentally ill, others leap to your defense, before you know it there's a war on...

My brain made the leap then to the image of the tower and thought that what we often think of as difference in language may be a deeper story about failed communication or not failed but less than divine the end our words fail us in our ability to relate perfectly to each other, divinely to each other.

Renz, I never linked it, so I think that is probably that windy old Ruach connecting us at a different level again.

I thought about even when we humans might think "we're speakin' the same language," in reality, we're not. Much like how those dog noises in your post are so subtle in their deliverance. My dogs often make the same noise, but the body language is different. I have to read both to understand. What we say, what we don't say, and how we look when we're saying it is so complex. That's why I think one of the problems of the Internet is the ease of how we can pop off, spout off, or hurt others without that "full means of communication."

I think even face to face with some one you've known for years - the ability to really understand is limited and less than perfect. For me Zoe's body language and whine are exactly the same for all those things - I have to go through this process of elimination before I figure out what she's trying to let me know.



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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