God speaks to us through the Bible in order that God can also speak through us to others.

Primary Media
Portrait of Ibi Soqluman (Chuan)
Credit: Ibi Soqluman (Chuan)
Published On: October 19, 2023


As an Indigenous person from Taiwan now living in Canada, I remember a lesson about power and balance that my grandmother taught us. We were taught to use our language wisely, for the words we express always carry our energy and part of our soul. When we misuse words, the spiritual balance and harmony will be broken and unbalanced but will recover on their own time.

As a Bunun Christian, I believe all languages that we were given by the Creator are beautiful and powerful. That’s why I feel sorry when people misuse language and believe they can say whatever they want with no consequences. In many communities, we often see people making fun of and laughing at other people’s skin colour, appearance, accent, etc. as ways to show humour or to make connections with others. We even hear those same people say that they didn’t mean it in a disrespectful way or to hurt anyone’s feelings—but they did it anyway! Well, if you think the people who are targeted are not offended or don’t feel anything, then you are lying to yourself.

Truth is, we do not need this kind of humour if it is pointing at someone’s life, culture, or situation, and with sugar-coated discrimination.

One observation I’ve made since moving to Canada is about the comedy culture of Western countries and its impact on our society. Comedians’ best shots often come from making fun of other people and their experiences. It’s easy to see these comedy performances as entertainment: “It’s just a joke—don’t take it so seriously.” But people should not accept racist language—it's important to notice its negative impact.

Racism is in fact a systemic issue, rooted deep in Canadian culture. You have the option of not promoting those values that are damaging to people’s dignity and soul.

Faith Reflection

Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.
—Proverbs 12:18

Some elder said: “When you learn a new language, you can feel more strength and confidence within you, and the energy is yours to use.”

The way you use language is the way of your life. It is an energy that is dwelling within you. Therefore, be encouraged to recognize your own language, and learn better methods of connecting with other people. As a Christian, and a community of faith, we need to share more love and help others have a better and fulfilled life.  

Living It Out

I believe God speaks to us through the Bible in order that God can also speak through us to others. Therefore, in your next Bible study or fellowship gathering, when you are able and willing, when sharing the love and truth of God with others, try to ask yourself: What does this mean to me? Together, let us continue to learn to appreciate our language and to use it wisely.

Ibi Soqluman (Chuan) (he/him) was born in the village of Kalibuan, Nantou, in the centre of Taiwan. Ibi was raised on his family farm. He is the minister at Cranbrook United Church in East Kootenay, BC. He is one of the Pacific Mountain Region’s Executive members and also a member of the Anti-Racism Common Table of The United Church of Canada.