Everyone is trilingual. Yes, even you. Part 1

In his book, The Contemplative Pastor, Eugene Peterson breaks language into three categories which he labels Language I, II, and III.

Peterson's definition of each category:
"Language I is the language of intimacy and relationship."
"Language II is the language of information."
"Language III is the language of motivation."

Peterson goes on to say that our current culture is dominated by language II and III. We know the power of information and the power of using language to "get things done." Language I is something that is generally reserved for those moments when you are cooing a baby or whispering sweet nothings into a lover's ear. Language II and III get us money and power and prestige. Language I seem to only result in mementos and memories. 

Finally Peterson reminds the reader that Language I is the language of prayer. 

After reflecting on this passage in his book, a few things struck me

First of all everyone is trilingual. Everyone speaks the language of intimacy, information and motivation. In Christian spirituality it is critical to our formation that we are fluent in all three languages. One might say that spiritual formation is rooted in "Trinitarian language".

The issue might be that too many Christians are attempting to live out Christian spirituality but only using two of the three languages that are necessary for Christian spirituality. 

Christians are great at getting people to learn what the Bible has to say or what we believe. Christians also are good at getting people to understand the things that we are to do as Christians - build homes, feed people, visit the sick, etc. Where we fail in our spiritual formation is that Christians are not very good at cultivating the language of intimacy. 

Christianity is a faith practice that is rooted in "Trinitarian language" and when we are only using two of the three languages we are always going to remain immature.