Play the video then read on.
I was struck after watching this clip that we laugh because it is so true. How many different contexts do we move through each day with the potential to misunderstand each other? Poor communication routinely happens in the church. As a pastor, I think I have said something clearly, but it is heard with meaning that I never intended. This is particularly true of conversation between moderns and postmoderns. These groups have to work hard to understand each other. There is a need for the gift of interpretation, not of tongues, but of cultural languages. I have often seen myself as a translator – someone who has grown up in a very modern context but seeks to learn and engage in the postmodern conversation.
This video also reminds me of the difficulty the church faces when trying to understand the culture around it. As the world shifts, so do the cultural frameworks. The church as a whole has maintained the framework of a modern era, a paradigm that worked very well for hundreds of years. But in the last 50 or so years North American culture has changed. Just look at the development of technology, global economy, communications, medicine, etc.
Church and culture are now speaking two different languages. Furthermore, the church is often giving answers to the questions of a previous language and culture, unaware that the questions have changed.
The culture asks, “What is the meaning of life?”
The church answers, “Read these four laws and pray this prayer.”
“What is the difference between Jesus, Muhammad and Buddha?”
“We use hymnals,” or, “We only sing choruses.”
“How can I find a job when I can’t afford childcare?”
“We meet on Sundays at 10.”
“Where can we get some food?”
“We’ll pray for you.”
“We Africans are dying of AIDS; can you help?”