Why Do We Use Big Words?

I am not sure if you are aware, but being a PhD student and a husband has challenges. No, it is not that I never have time for my wife. No, it is not that we don’t enjoy the country we moved to so I could pursue my higher education. No, it is not that she disagrees with my desires for church reconciliation (my research revolves around this). It comes down to one thing: communication. Yes, it sounds cliche, but I assure you, it is the truth. When you become specialized in a narrow field of study, you learn the lingo, you speak the lingo, you live the lingo–and then there is the spouse. My wife has not studied theology or philosophy, yet I live this language. As you can imagine, this is a major challenge. Do I force her to learn new vocabulary and concepts, or do I learn how to communicate what I believe to be profound concepts into normal language? I know the answer, but it is really difficult to put some of these concepts into everyday language. Difficulty and challenges have never stopped me in the past, so why should I allow it to stop me now. As Barney Stinson would say,


At the end of the day, these challenges actually help our marriage more than anything, and they help keep me in the real world. If I were not challenged on a daily basis to communicate–through active listening and fitting my own words into the the context of everyday language, then I would be failing in my identity as researcher, teacher, and husband. Why do challenges help us? I think it because with every challenge we face we need to have patience, and with patience comes suffering (note: Latin passio is where we get the word for both patience and suffering, and that is why we say the “passion of Christ” when we speak of the sufferings that he went through with patience). When we suffer, we realize that we need to stop living for ourselves and be willing to die for the other person. Sometimes that death is “literal,” but more often than not it is “figurative” and mundane, for instance, I die for my wife every time I do the dishes. Note: I have not said that we die to ourselves, I have said that we die for the other person. Greater love has none than this, that one lay down his life for others (John 15.13).

So why do we use big words? It is not because they make us feel more important (perhaps some people use the big words for this type of vain glory, that seems silly to me though). For me, I use the big words because I can say one word, and have it mean two or more things at the same time. I personally like this, it makes my brain get excited and pumps it full of dopamine, unfortunately, it usually results in none of the meanings coming across and I simply look like an incoherent babbling fool.

If you catch me using big words which you don’t comprehend or don’t seem to fit the context of the conversation, please stop me in my tracks and ask me to explain myself. I will not be offended.


We are Moving to Belgium!

We have a Big Announcement: We are moving to Belgium! A country filled with European history which also happens to be the land of bicycles, chocolate, and gourmet beer—things which we tend to enjoy on occasion. However, that is not the draw for us! We truly feel God calling us in this direction and Lord willing we will be flying to Belgium this July, and staying for the next 3-4 years.

KU Leuven

KU Leuven

If you have known me (Michael) for more than 10 minutes, you know my passion for teaching truth and wisdom, and that I pour my heart into my students. Becoming a professor with these values has always been my dream, and the world renowned faculty of Theology and Philosophy at KU Leuven will help me get there. During my conversations with the Faculty, I made it very clear that I will be writing my dissertation on the idea of church reconciliation between Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christians, and they were intrigued to hear my thoughts and invite me to study with them. We believe that Church reconciliation is a possible impossibility, and we will continue pursuing reconciliation by faith, knowing that we worship the God of the impossible.

My wife (Sara) loves to serve others and wants to use this opportunity in Belgium to become involved with student life and the local church. At the same time, she will also continue pursuing her love for competitive cycling and is hoping to continue working in the fitness industry when we move (she has been a personal trainer for the last 4 years). None of this would be possible were it not for Sara’s continually love and support.

KU Leuven is located in Leuven, Belgium (about 25 minutes east of Brussels) and was founded in 1425, making it the oldest Catholic university in the world. KU Leuven is a fantastic university and we are incredibly excited for this opportunity to possibly earn a PhD in the next 3-4 years. The difficult part is leaving our family and friends. The people of Portland have truly impacted our lives in a wonderful way. We will miss you tremendously and we will certainly welcome if you ever decide to come visit us in Belgium. Please sign up for email updates so that you can follow us and pray for us during our journey.
All our love,
Michael & Sara

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