Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Learning the Language

"Mind the gap," "way out," and "the till" are terms that we have become well-acquainted with over the last three weeks. It's nice to be in England where they speak our language, sort of!

Learning "their language" is about more than vocabulary and the conjugation of verbs. It takes time and effort (and some trial and error) to begin to understand the idioms and customs of a culture. A new language is best-learned in the context of its culture rather than by a book or in a classroom in some remote (and more comfortable) setting.

Which leads me to wonder if learning a new language isn't a necessary part of living our faith? Yes, "how can they hear without a preacher?" but how will they understand if the preacher doesn't speak their language? Remember, the gift of the Spirit empowered believers to speak in languages they did not previously know so that all those present could hear (and understand) the Good News in their native tongue.

Learning a new language isn't limited to the study of German, Spanish, or Korean. Some of us might do well to brush-up on our "old folks," or "young people," or "single-adult," or "not-a-baptist." Otherwise everyone in our church would look and sound just like us. Wouldn't that be sad (for those not like us) and boring (for us).

For inquiring minds, "mind the gap" is the caution you hear when stepping from the subway train to the platform, "way out" indicates an exit, and "the till" is the cash register.

1 comment:

  1. O.K. I must be missing all of you too much!! This brought tears...may we always be in tune with the language of others!