The word for the week this week is ‘communicate’ … because I’m a long way from home here and it’s been relevant!
Of course, I’m supposed to know a little bit about how communication works. But in the last 24 hours I’ve made some absolute ‘howlers’ … and not just over word choice. We need friends to point these things out to us (and we need to be ready to listen to how they have perceived us) in order to understand how what we’ve said is going to be understood. It’s quite possible we’ll then need to make modifications if our real intentions are going to be preserved.
Communicating is a difficult business, and (I confess) it can be EASY both to be and to feel such a clot!
Where intention and perception diverge
Cross cultural communication is so much more than translation. It also involves what we will talk about, how we will talk about it and the way we are understood if we do. The speaker’s intention can diverge very greatly from the hearer’s perception of their intended meaning … and in a cross cultural situation (such as we encounter when we open the Bible) the potential for misunderstanding is immense!
The edge of what you can see in a 360 degree panorama around you delimits what you can see … and therefore understand … of the world.
I stand at a different point on the earth’s surface from you and my horizon of understanding (also limited by what I see) is different from yours. The experiences that shaped me, the culture and the pattern of what is socially acceptable that makes me who I am, vary from horizon to horizon.
When we first have the chance to communicate, I only understand you in the area where my view of the world overlaps with yours.
I will understand more if you can describe to me what you see and if I listen to you. The same goes for you.
But we also need to talk about how we understand each other, because it is easy to mis- perceive BOTH what you are saying and what you mean!
And so it is with people approaching the Bible.
Broadening our horizons
If I from within my limited horizon of understanding am prepared to interact, question, discuss with God and try to understand from His perspective on what the world is like and how I can live in it, then communication takes place. When this communication takes place, I grow in wisdom and understanding … because I’m communicating with the only Person in the Universe with an unlimited horizon of eternal understanding.
The book that starts off the BIG conversation
If you tackle it right … the Bible becomes a basis for a learning conversation that expands and enhances your take on the world, on the universe, and on everything.
It really is not a musty old rule book, but the expression of truth that sets off a learning conversation with God.
How about giving it THAT sort of reading today?
(I’m sorry there are no pictures here this week … mebbe next week I can add some, but this week I’m just not at home, not on my computer using equipment that I am familiar with and am grateful to have managed as much as this. Thanks for your patience …)