It is my conviction, and in this I think I concur with both James and Whitehead, that we participate in this Creative Passage as bodily event at a depth and fullness not manageable at the cognitive level. . . . In all of [life] there are depths of awareness accompanying the bodily event of living and experience that yield conditions of knowing which language may not convey, or, for that matter, cannot convey. Whitehead expressed this point in those memorable words, "Mothers can ponder many things in their hearts which their lips cannot express." [Cf. Luke 2:51.] Meland continues this passage by speaking of ways in which men, children, and adolescents, also, ponder experiences which they cannot express verbally.
This stark contrast between the language we use in attending the religious realities, of whatever faith, and the realities themselves should not strike us as strange. Simple acknowledgment of the fallibility of our human forms and symbols should offer precedent enough for insisting that every creature, however elevated or humble, however committed in . . . heart and mind to the truth of the faith, stands under the judgment of reality as lived, of reality as encountered in experience. With the use of language, [we] may appropriately grope toward understanding and toward some degree of intelligibility in responding to what meets us in the lived experiences. But, since we live more deeply than we can think, no formulation of truth out of the language we use can be adequate for expressing what is really real, fully available, fully experienced, within this mystery of existing, in the mystery of dying, or in whatever surpasses these creatural occurrences of such urgent moment to each of us.
We live by trust, in part by hope, in part by inquiry, patiently and humbly pursued. And to the degree that these sensibilities of our creaturehood are observed, the pursuit of intelligibility and understanding in [our] faith is a creative adventure full of promise in expanding, sensitizing, illumining, and hopefully fulfilling this pilgrimage of existing. Every other mode of seeking to wrest the fire and efficacy of reality, either by way of sanctioning those who presume to believe, or as ground for registering reality's curse upon those who presume not to believe in accordance with the prescribed language of human forms and symbols, is blasphemous, and carries within its own degree of dementia. And this, I submit, is the judgment of reality itself; not of any human formulation dependent upon the language of our fallible forms and symbols.
We cut nature up, organize it into concepts, and ascribe significances as we do, largely because we are parties to an agreement to organize it in this way - an agreement that holds through our speech community and is codified in the patterns of our language.
If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose . . . the fact that they were the people who created the phrase "to make money." No other language or nation had ever used these words before. . . . Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created.