"No Religion is an Island", p. 264
Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays (1997)
Kontext: One of the results of the rapid depersonalization of our age is a crisis of speech, profanation of language. We have trifled with the name of God, we have taken the name and the word of the Holy in vain. Language has been reduced to labels, talk has become double-talk. We are in the process of losing faith in the reality of words.
Yet prayer can happen only when words reverberate with power and inner life, when uttered as an earnest, as a promise. On the other hand, there is a high degree of obsolescence in the traditional language of the theology of prayer. Renewal of prayer calls for a renewal of language, of cleansing the words, of revival of meanings.
The strength of faith is in silence, and in words that hibernate and wait. Uttered faith must come out as a surplus of silence, as the fruit of lived faith, of enduring intimacy.
Theological education must deepen privacy, strive for daily renewal of innerness, cultivate ingredients of religious existence, reverence and responsibility.