Discourse with a capital “D”

She walks into the interview room, pressing her frames in an upward motion towards her eyes. Slides her hands down the front of her darted A-line skirt, and sucks in her stomach glancing at her nude pumps. Check.


Sliding into her eccentrically fashionable yoga pants, she breathes in quietly as she readies herself for practice. As she walks softly into the studio, she glances around the room to appear as though she’s locating her “spot”- yet making sure she’s similar enough to her peers. Check.

Our activities speak for us, our possessions speak for us, and far too often our clothing speaks for us. We want to fit in, be noticed, and feel as though “this” is who we are- we crave acceptance and worth. I think to deny we have those needs- we would be lying to ourselves.

In my masters course this fall, we are discussing Discourses- how and why they are necessary- as well as how they function. Discourse is a combination of acts: saying, writing, doing, being, valuing, etc. It’s a social construct- not dissimilar from culture. Our primary Discourse is attained through being a part of something (group, family unit, team, etc). Secondary Discourses are on the other hand learned through social institutions. To be fluent is to be a part of a Discourse. In other words, to have fully attained mastery. (I can not claim that I have achieved mastery in anything) We were asked to list our set of Discourses, and which ones caused us the most conflict- which ones butted heads.

For example, refer to the brief descriptions I wrote above. In each of those scenarios, the woman is trying to look the part, perhaps talk the part, and attempt her best to fit into these groups- Discourse sets. It’s an “identity kit” of sorts.

In other words, we’re playing dress-up. This week (month/year) I will do yoga. This week (month/year) I will raise a young child (ok, hopefully this one is longer than week/month/year). This week (month/year) I will drink only the best coffee and study every aspect of coffee bean roasting I can manage. You get the point?

It’s who we are- it’s what we do. We connect and communicate through these Discourses- forming relationships- achieving goals- and filling our bellies.

I was left with dissatisfaction.

I was left making sense of certain seasons I’ve experienced in my life.

I was left being grateful that God looks beyond our “identity kit”.

He looks beyond the dried food on my clothing, left by a 9 month old. He looks deeper than the way I dress myself- even if I don’t dress “the part” very well.
Now, my professor’s goal was not to elicit this response- but I can’t deny that I went there.

Perhaps that’s part of my primary Discourse that carries over into my secondary.

4 thoughts on “Discourse with a capital “D”

  1. Ahhhh, yes, examining our internal and external discourses may not necessarily lead to a deeper understanding of them, but as you so beautifully illustrate, probing in more depth often leads to a sense of dissatisfaction and the ultimate search–the search for spiritual fulfillment.

    24 The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; Acts 17:24-27


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