A Theory and a Theology

At the subway in Kuala Lumpur, my daily commute to the YMCA for language classes

At the subway in Kuala Lumpur, my daily commute to the YMCA for language classes

Greetings, friends.  I have been away from this blog for awhile – family visitors to Malaysia, intensive language study in Kuala Lumpur, getting life back on track with the start of the Western school year.  Also, the heat has wiped me out – somehow it took a year for it to affect me?  Who knows.

The good news is that I am finding more time now for writing, research, reflection, and conversation about the idea I’ve had for 3 years now for a book.

The premise of the book is the different ways we use the words “but” and “and.”  We treat them as interchangeable, but (ha – but! Watch how you use it!) if we look at the meaning behind the words, we learn about behaviour, attitude, and communication.

When Caedmon was about a year old, he hated to be put to bed.  He would cry for hours.  I read every book, asked every mom, tried things for weeks at a time.  One book on discipline talked about “and” and “but” and this got me thinking.  One night, as I put Cade down after our bedtime routine, I began to say my usual – “I love you, but it’s time for sleep.”  I stopped myself just in time, and instead I said, “I love you, and that’s why I’m helping get you to your bed and your sleep.  Good night” – and, for the first time, his fists let go of my shirt, he went calmly into his crib, and off to dreamland.

I’ve learned that there is a field of psychology called “NLP” – neuro-linguistic programming – that looks at how the words we use (linguistic) actually program how the neurons in our brain will handle information.  For many people, “But” triggers the neurons for “problem! separation! get defensive!”  “And” on the other hand is a word that links things together.  NLP is a really intriguing field for me, in large part because of how it has helped me in my own attitude, relationships, and life.

So I am studying the theory of NLP – though the leaders in this field will tell you that the theories – the patterns that they have named and shared – are not enough, that it is a practical field.  I agree!  And as a Christian woman,  a mom, a missionary, when I take in information, I don’t stop at theory.  I often don’t stop at practice.  I want also to look for theology – for what this tells us about God.

Where does God use “but” and “and”?  How do we hear messages from God – with our Neurons (mental chemistry & structures for thinking), or with our Language (remembering that Christ is “the Word of God”), or with the ways we Program our life according to patterns?  I have been having a great time exploring how NLP can relate to the Christian faith, to our understanding and devotion to God, and to how we actually live our daily life.

So – from theories to theology – I will share some of my reflections on this blog and invite your contributions as well!

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