14 July 2010

Speaking in Code -> Confusion, Frustration, Alienation

Zumba, geocaching, Star Trek, Euchre, video games, Surrogates, breeding birds, golf, Taekwondo, scrapbooking . . . . they all have their own vocabulary, a code that works for those who are in. If you are in the group or interested in the hobby, you speak the language. If not, it gets boring very fast.

The same is true with religious or spiritual conversations. Those who understand the terminology often are not aware that many other people do not understand. Assumptions are made and confusion or misunderstanding continue.

John Ortberg often says, "Why can't everyone be normal like me?" His sarcastic humour underlines a real truth. His statement is funny and reminds himself that there are different ways of looking at things.

It's not funny when you take the humour and sarcasm out of the statement. To think that normal is to be like yourself is a form of arrogance. Humility will seek common ground those who are different from ourselves, with those who don't speak our language.

Consider this example from Discipleship Journal (Jan/Feb 2002)

"Would you ever use the word ‘sin'?" A lawyer in our group answered smugly, "Yes—as in ‘sinfully delicious chocolate.'" "OK," I replied, "a kid goes to school and shoots 15 classmates. Would you call that sin?" He said, "I'd call it wrong." "Based on what?" I asked. This provoked a healthy discussion.
How would you explain sin to someone who had no biblical, church or religious background? What if there was no understanding of a moral law giver, therefore no commonly agreed upon moral law?

Assumptions do not aid understanding; they fuel frustration and alienation.

6 comments:

Sonia said...

So very true..! Thanks for writing.

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