An Evangelical Church in the Heart of Thatcham

Selective speaking

I was amused hearing about the family that got a celebratory takeaway when their child was threatened with a detention for talking in class. As may not surprise you, the backstory for this news item was a bit more complex and involved.

A girl called Red had gone through nursery school only talking to the teacher when all the other children were playing outside and where she knew she would not be overheard. Her parents just assumed that she was somewhat shy since at home she was a very lively kid, confident, and with a strong sense of humour.

Her silence outside of the home continued into primary school and only, as she got into secondary education, did things start to slowly improve. Later she was diagnosed as suffering from a condition known as “selective mutism”.

One of the sad aspects of this story is that, despite being in university and having a good circle of friends, there are still certain people that she is not able to speak a word to, her grandad being one.

Speech is, without question, a fundamental part of social functioning and from the very outset the Bible emphasizes that God is highly communicative. He first speaks the creation into being, then He speaks through His creation to all people of every tongue 24/7 and then He speaks even more specifically through His One and Only Son Jesus who became one of us and spoke at great length for three whole years.

Despite these aspects of His heftily communicative nature many feel that perhaps He is “selectively mute” or even totally mute.

If the jury’s out for you, test His own promise from Jeremiah 29: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” – let’s hope the reality is not that we’re simply “selective hearers”.

Pastor Hedley

I am the Pastor at Thatcham Evangelical Church in West Berkshire. This is an FIEC (Fellowship of Evangelical Churches) affiliated church.