God's Mission Matters September 2010 podcast - Bridge the gap!

Bridge the gap! Improving communications between here and there
September 15, 2010

By Eli Cook
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13)

A professor recently arrived in Latin America was surprised by the “passion” with which Latin Americans infuse their conversations. From the perspective of the country where he had recently served, this type of communication reflects anger and disrespect. Here however, it is a normal, important way of communicating (if you want to be heard!). Recognizing that there are differences between “here” and “there,” that there is a gap to be bridged and deciding that we want to take that leap, are the first steps to effective communication.

It is natural to view the world based on our own values, customs, culture and religious traditions. We easily expect others to adapt to our ways, rather than the other way around. Communication involves much more than an exchange of words or images, it means de-centering ourselves in order to focus on the world from another perspective. This may mean research, conversation, listening and just being together. It especially involves being respectful of that which is different, new and maybe just a little hard to understand.

But communication is not a one-way street. It is mutual sharing, mutual dialogue. Do we want to hear about how God is working around the world? Let’s be intentional. Pick a place, make contact and expect, not just to hear from them, but also to share our lives, challenges and struggles. Communication is a responsibility for all those involved. As we come to know each other we  —  and the global mission of the Church — are challenged and enriched.

Listen to this month’s episode of “God’s Mission Matters” and hear stories by Shannon Langley, mission co-worker in the Dominican Republic from 1997 to 2003, and by Veronica Muchiri, National Women’s Guild Organizer for the Presbyterian Church of East Africa, a partner of the PC(USA).

Also get the 'God’s Mission Matters' Bridge the Gap episode toolkit.

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