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Eric's Sunday Sermon; What Speaking Well is All About
Silver linings are everywhere that we look for them.
A look at part of a problem
There are three forms of communication that show us a lack of ability to verbalize appropriately. Yes indeed saying what we mean in a way it is understood by another is a learned skill. My kindergartener is just now learning to put sentences together appropriately. Not yet in exact proper tenses with perfect grammar but that will come if he learns the basic communications skills first. Teaching him to do this takes time and effort. I understand that some children do not get that time and effort put into them and therefor are missing a key phase of development. You get the picture; “give me that thing” doesn’t get changed to “Please may I have that truck”. And that becomes a problem. The child might still get it from school and friends but they will be a bit arrested in development and it is hard to catch up later.
Now back to those three forms of communication. One is blatant repetitive cursing. Another is name calling. And the third is the use of “that” “this” “thing” and “those” instead of proper nouns. These three forms of communication tell us immediately that somewhere along the way someone dropped the ball and did not help the child learn the appropriate methods of communication. It is pretty much black and white. And you should be asking about now what this has to do with a sermon. Communication is the answer.
It takes time and effort to formulate and relate matters of spirituality. Sure normal people can got to the store and get what they want using communication. But can they walk up to a priest and ask an important question about why something is thought to be a certain way. Sorry that is just not an automatic ability that we all inherently have engrained. It takes time and effort.
Clear blue water. How refreshing
Cool Clear Water
Compassion in Communication
I am not saying that one who has the ability to communicate on this level is better than another who cannot. I cannot do the electrical wiring for a house, or perform surgery. If I put in the time and effort and learned how to then I could do it. No one can do everything in life. I can write, my wife can sell. I cannot sell and she cannot write. Oh we can crossover but we end up like the child who says “give me that thing”. There is only so much time. And learning to effectively communicate is not necessarily a priority when there is food to put on the table and schedules to keep.
So I put the onerous on the receiver of the information to fill in the blanks to lend an extra ear and try to make good common sense of what is being related. It is hard to make sense sometimes but worth the effort rather than taking offense if something is misspoken. The rewards there far outweigh the short term frustrations. It is easy to remark “that makes no sense”. It is kind to reply, “Can you say it a different way so as to make sure I understand you because what you believe is important to me?”
Sometimes it gets really tough in the day to day when you live your life around civilized conversation and someone drops the “F” bomb regularly and the “S” word every other sentence. But be good to them. Probably something way out of their control has basically forced that communication style onto them. No child would choose to be limited in their education and development. So why should we choose to ignore or disregard the person who clearly did not have the advantages that we did. If we are compelled to love our enemy should we not try equally hard to love our neighbor with compassionate language reflecting care?
Tough going ahead
Just some music that lets my mind wonder
Look for and be the good
If you are reading this you are sophisticated to a certain degree. I say things backwards to normal speech patterns and I get off into the abstract. But I write for the people sitting in the cyber pews. When I was a preacher man in the physical I sermonized to young second generation immigrant children and I sermonized to older folks with English as a passable second language. I promise you I did not word sentences and concepts as I do here. So that brings us to the second part of communication. Do you want to look all impressive and sound all sophisticated or do you want to be understood by your in fact audience? I have had the great opportunity to work closely with people who have English as a second language – or sometimes a third. We were put together somehow in order to communicate and get certain things done. That requires a great deal of give and take. When I was a youngster I had the opportunity to live and work in Paris France. Spanish was my second language and picking up conversational French was difficult for me. To this day over forty years later I still remember some folks who were quite rude about my trying to communicate in French. But I remember many who were very kind and helpful. Helping someone to communicate by communicating in a helpful manner with them is a kindness that is priceless. And we should be no less kind to someone struggling to communicate in our own language due to circumstances related to the vagaries of birthright. We all want and need a voice.
We recently had a water heater blowout. We needed replacement and we needed it ASAP. A friend who is a plumber was called. Immediate arrangements were made. I know what a valve is and I can see a leek. I know the difference between hot and cold and gas. But I do not know all the fancy terminology that plumbers use. The guy is a good plumber because he broke it down into terms a laymen could understand for both my wife and I. Well he is also just a good plumber. But notice my first impression of how good he is, is how he can relate what needs to be done. If you want to be considered good at something you need to be able to communicate to your audience.
I actually have been trained to use words to hurt, point out inconsistences and manipulate people. You guessed it I have some training in the field of law. It has taken some decades to remove that from my lexicon of verbal and written tools. I still fall prey to it in given circumstances. But I claim to be a work in progress not a perfected man. As a young man I took some evil pride in using words to “rip somebody apart”. Now that I am an older and hopefully a bit wiser man I take some pride in using my words to build somebody up.
Lord help me to use my words to build foundations and relationship rather than walls and tearing things down. Help give me the strength to pause and listen with my heart as well as my mind and to find good things rather than bad. I pray you boost me up so that I can boost others. And let me quickly repent and reconcile when my listening or use of words fall short of goodness. Amen