Discover why words matter in a noisy world
Technology has made it easier than ever before to share just about everything: pictures, ideas, even the ups and downs of your morning errand run. Yet all our talking doesn't seem to be connecting us the way it promised to. That's because we don't need to talk more, we need to talk better.
Redeeming How We Talk explores what the Bible has to say about that central aspect of life and relationships—conversation. The Scriptures show us that words have remarkable power—to create, to bless, to encourage, to forgive. Imagine how we, as Christians, could spark change in our families, churches, and communities if we learned to use words like Jesus did. By weaving together theology, history, and philosophy, Ken Wytsma and A. J. Swoboda help us reclaim the holiness of human speech and the relevance of meaningful conversation in our culture today.
Praise for Redeeming How We Talk
We all crave connection. But ironically, we don't spend a lot of time thinking about, or praying about, how our words and our other conversational tools work to draw us close to one another or to God. We are all familiar with the psalm that pleads, “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Redeeming How We Talk breaks down how to do just that.
Former Strategist and Chief Operating Officer at IF:Gathering
In a world where we have tribalized ourselves into identity groups of disagreement, true conversation and dialogue are becoming obsolete. We don't have conversations anymore; the dialogue is predetermined and reinforced in the echo chambers of media. A. J. and Ken have given us not only a history of how we got here and a theology of communication, but wisdom and practical guidance in how we talk to one another. It is time for us to leave our polarized islands of finger pointing and truly learn to ask the deeper questions, gain understanding, and yes, speak to one another in a way that reveals the love and wisdom of God. This book will give you the tools to heal our fractured world one conversation at a time.
Lead Pastor of Imago Dei Community in Portland, OR
Author of Faith for This Moment (forthcoming) and The Answer to Our Cry
What comes out of our mouths is a reflection of what's on our hearts. At a time when our discourse has become more coarse and when it's easier to back into corners with our opinions, rather than engaging with those with whom we may disagree, this book offers a way for us to rethink the importance of civil discourse, and humility and openness in communication. This book comes at a right time when perhaps all of us need a fresh reminder to guard our tongues and our hearts in a way that would honor Christ.
Vice President of Advocacy and Policy for World Relief
“We have become a people all alone, together,” assert Ken Wytsma and A. J. Swoboda in Redeeming How We Talk. Mass communication is more like a corporate cacophony. Few are listening, few speak what's worth hearing. We just keep missing each other. Is there hope of recovery from the current crisis? Is there hope for the kind of communication that recovers the lost art of community? Wytsma and Swoboda blaze a path out of all the noise that moves toward honest, thoughtful communication where we can listen, hear, and thoughtfully respond.
Professor, Wheaton College
Words have power. This one simple phrase has shaped my adult life in a profound way. There has never been a more important time for a generation to rediscover the power of words than in our current culture. I believe this book invokes a holy understanding of our unique calling as agents of grace, truth, and life in a decaying world.
Speaker, author, social justice advocate
It is not just the clarity of their speech that sets Ken and A. J.'s message apart, it is the depth of their listening. This is so much more than a book about words; it is a book that lays open our shouting hearts, and gently questions why we speak in the first place. Redeeming How We Talk invites us to a more Christlike way to speak, to listen, and to live.
Paul J. Pastor
Author of The Listening Day devotional series and The Face of the Deep: Exploring the Mysterious Person of the Holy Spirit
Not only has civic dialogue become increasingly toxic, we have lost our imagination for how our public discourse could be any different. Fortunately for us, Wytsma and Swoboda have vibrant moral imaginations that they employ to paint a hopeful vision for healthy public communication in a time it is most desperately needed. Moreover, they understand that Jesus Himself offers the way forward, and His kingdom contains all the resources we need to engage in public life free of fear and manipulation, and full of joy and love.
Author of Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America
Scripture reminds us that the tongue carries within it the power of life and death. Words matter. They either lift up, or they tear down. In an age of mass communication though, we get overwhelmed with too many words. We don't know which ones to prioritize, and which ones to filter out. In this important work, Ken Wytsma and A. J. Swoboda take us on a journey to recognize the power of words, and to develop a strategy for how to better receive, and pass on, this important currency.
Pastor and author of White Awake and 10:10: Life to the Fullest
Words matter. As Ken Wytsma and A. J. Swoboda suggest, they are “extensions of every heart.” If we are to bridge the divides of our time, or simply learn to live together with our deep differences, there is no more important place to start than in redeeming the way we talk. This book is a much-needed reflection on speaking, listening, and living differently in ways that bring healing and reconciliation.
Cofounder, The Telos Group
In this age of the overload of words that are dividing and degrading, I know of no more important topic than Redeeming How We Talk. May the church learn to lead by redeeming the gift of communication, that our words would heal and unite humanity, and that our actions would align to the same.
General Supervisor and V.P. of U.S. Operations, The Foursquare Church
Maybe it's our polarized politics. Or the 24-hour cable news cycle. Or the digital devices that promise to connect us even as they drive us apart. Whatever the reason, it seems like we don't talk anymore. Not really, anyway. We talk past each other, over each other, against each other. In Redeeming How We Talk, Wytsma and Swoboda explain how we've come to our current predicament and how we can find our way out. The authors provide a fascinating survey of the history of information and the mechanics of language. Ultimately, they root their prescriptions in the character of a relational God who uses words to create and restore—and calls us to do the same. It's hard to imagine a more timely or important message.
Contributing editor at CTPastors.com and author of Yawning at Tigers
Redeeming How We Talk is a striking book. Swoboda and Wytsma have a deep sense of brokenness of modern Western culture and the loneliness and fragmentation that prevail within it. They also are keen readers of Scripture and stir our imaginations with the hope that the Word-made-flesh might indeed be very good news in this cultural milieu. I pray that this book will be read, wrestled with, but most of all, talked about in our churches.
C. Christopher Smith
Founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books, coauthor of Slow Church
Author of the forthcoming book How the Body of Christ Talks
I am grateful for the work that A.J. And Ken have put in to write such a timely book like this because words light or darkness, life or death. This book teaches us who are the walking letters representing Christ practically how to recognize words of darkness and death and how to use our words to bring both light and life. I hope you read this book and act accordingly so you can spread more of Christ's light and life.
David M. Bailey
Executive Director of Arrabon
Coauthor of Race, Class, and The Kingdom of God Study Series