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TINNN: Spiritual Discipline and Military Metaphors

August 18, 2009

Tuesdays are “TINNN” Day (This Is Not Network News)

Since nobody from the press interviewed me this week, I thought I’d make up an interview.   This interview about spiritual discipline and military metaphors never happened – a complete fake.

TINNN:

Welcome, Mr. Volk, to our TINNN segment “On Language.”  You come from a faith based organization, the Friends of Committees in National Service, and, so, I wonder whether that means you are religious?

Mr. Volk:

Thank you for having me.  First, let me correct the name of my organization.  It is the Friends Committee on National Legislation or FCNL for short.

TINNN:

Please forgive my error.

Mr. Volk:

You’re forgiven. A lot of people get that wrong.  Second, since I come from a faith based organization, am I a religious person?  Yes, but the cause and effect are turned around.  I’m not religious because I come from a faith based organization.  Rather, I work for a faith based organization because I’m religious.  Of course, we don’t have time to go into the many-faceted question:  what does it mean to be “religious?”

TINNN:

Well, now that you ask, what does it mean? To be “religious?”

Mr. Volk:

You first asked me if I was “religious.”  So, you must already know what you mean by “religious.”  What did you mean?

TINNN:

I really never thought about it.  Now that I ask myself the question, I have to admit that I don’t have a clue.

Mr. Volk:

Let me suggest that one part of “being religious,” if not the whole, is what you do, your practice.

TINNN:

OK, so what do you do? What’s your practice?

Mr. Volk:

I’ll give you an example of a spiritual discipline that I practice every day, and I’ll bet you can’t do it … at least, not until you’ve practiced for a while.  Try this:  Eliminate all military metaphors and violent terms from your speaking and writing, no matter how silly it feels.  See if you can get through the day without using military or violent metaphors to express your thoughts to others.  Think of this exercise as a spiritual discipline, a religious practice, with the expectation that it may open you to new truth.

TINNN:

OK, that’ll be easy, like shooting ducks in a barrel!  That’s it for “On Language.”

2 Comments
  1. carla Main permalink
    August 20, 2009 11:19 pm

    Thanks Joe for helping create a format that will work for me in my conversations with others about how my Quaker faith might translate into action. I am tired of my old habit of “preaching” where I inform others of the conclusions that I have already reached. Instead I am looking for ways to engage with others in a way that helps them initiate their own investigations in the method of the old Quaker query. Keep up your wonderful work!

  2. August 21, 2009 10:02 am

    As a Mormon, this really resonates with me. Not that my faith is free of blemishes, some even violent, but that acting upon or living a socially-based Christ-like life is a great example for other peace-loving people to follow, something more stable or concrete. I’m going to take your challenge to avoid all military or violent metaphors in expressing my thoughts today and onward.

    Thank you.

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