So it’s been a little quiet here over the last few weeks and I apologize. I am currently back in school pursuing my bachelor’s in Bible and Theology and have had a pretty heavy course-load over the last few weeks. After completing a 17-page exegetical paper, I have a slight reprieve! (I also got a 98 on the paper so there’s that.)
What made this class more time-consuming than the previous classes was that I got a late start. That late start came because I was signed up for a class that my advisor suggested called “History and Polity of the Nazarene Church.” This class is geared toward people who want to be Nazarene Pastors upon graduation and assumes a base knowledge of the Nazarene traditions. Because I am not aiming to be a Nazarene Pastor and have zero base knowledge of the denominational traditions, belief system, or polity, I was completely lost after only 2 days! I made a call to my advisor, we made some changes, cleared up some misunderstandings, and got me into a class on Paul and his Letters. I loved and thrived in this class and am actually kind of sad to see it come to a close.
While those few days of being lost in the History and Polity class were stressful and frustrating, I learned something extremely valuable; if we aren’t careful, our language can cripple our message.
A language barrier can take a simple conversation and turn it into a frustrating circus for everyone involved. Think about it, have you ever been to another country and tried to get directions? We try everything to figure out how to get the other person to understand what we’re saying, we talk louder, we use hand gestures, we talk even louder, we mime, we talk even louder, but ultimately our volume is not the problem our language is.
The same is true as we hope to communicate the message of Jesus. As a Christ-follower there are things that I know, words that I understand, or references to stories that I get. Often times I use those words, references, or stories assuming that the person in front of me has the same base knowledge that I do and then get frustrated when there is no response. But what is the reason there is no response isn’t that they are closed off, stubborn, or hard-hearted but because I am speaking a language that they don’t understand.
The challenge here is simple. We must learn to speak the language of the masses. I am not talking about English or Spanish, German or Italian, but the language of story that connects us all. How do you communicate with others? is it through the filter of your own preferences and experiences? Or is it through the lens of diversity, inclusion, and acceptance with grace and understanding for everyone’s unique journey? Learn to speak the language of the masses and we will see division shrink and unity abound.