I’m Discovering…

that it’s more and more difficult to speak across the fence these days.

In recent weeks I’ve had conversations about any number of topics and occasionally the topics sometimes moved into place where myself and another person disagreed. That happens. Yet what struck me was that the normal means for working through disagreements, finding some commonality and then using that to interpret our vision to another often simply doesn’t exist. When it comes to discussions of history, morals, politics, religion, you name the topic, it more and more seems like one person speaking Russian and the other Chinese. Both are fervent, both have a grounds for their thoughts, but there is no mutually held language through which to communicate.

How does one share their ideas and ideals when there is no common frame of reference? What happens when there is nothing between two people that’s mutually understood? It seems in this culture we have many platforms from which to speak out to the world but no common intellectual, spiritual, political, or social language or concepts to express ourselves. We really are many people shouting past each other in different tongues and growing increasingly frustrated, perhaps even hateful, with everyone who doesn’t understand.

Perhaps, in the end, only power or separation will have the final say. If I have power I can impress my “language” on you and frame any discussion on terms that are favorable to my reckoning of the world. This seems to be the reality of our politics at the present and it seems to have trickled down through many layers of culture. Separation may also be the end of it all. Already people are engaging only with people who speak the same language and in many ways we’ve already gone tribal even while we still live inside one border. This tribalism, I suppose, is less bad than some kind of dictatorship but it has its own kind of sorrow as well.

More importantly how do we communicate the reality of our Faith in and to a world where people may have never had a worldview, a “language” that touches on what we know and understand? The truth is that even people in our churches are more aware of the “language” of the world than the “language” of our Faith. It’s a question that’s on my mind lately and I’ll try to work it out. Until then I have to make do with the knowledge that even close friends may be worlds apart from me, farther than I ever recognized.

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