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1 Corinthians 14:6-9
Tuesday, September 06 2011

In Language Many Understand...

When we share Christ with others, are we using language that many can understand?

"Now, brothers, if I should come to you speaking in tongues, what good will I do you if I do not speak to you by way of revelation, or knowledge, or prophecy, or instruction?  ...Similarly, if you, because of speaking in tongues, do not utter intelligible speech, how will anyone know what is being said? For you will be talking to the air."  -1 Corinthians 14:6-9, NAB

While this verse is focused on speaking in tongues, in a language only God can understand, I want to look at it in a different light.  Already in yesterday's verse, we discussed how speaking in tongues does little good in building up the whole Church.  Similarly, using language that few understand, even if it is our own (English, Spanish, et cetera), does little good in building up the Church.

When I was going through the RCIA process, I started looking for sources of information to answer the many questions I had about the Catholic Church.  Unfortunately, I found it difficult at times to find resources to help.  True, there is an abundant number of books on Catholic apologetics, but for a new Catholic, they were often filled with such depth that it was hard to understand.  I needed an easy-to-read, Catholicism 101-like book, but most of the resources I found were suited more for the theological scholar.  That is what prompted me to start Waking Up Catholic.  I wanted to bring a resource to people that offered the basic nuts and bolts of the Catholic faith for people just starting on the journey.

The same can be said for how we share Christ in our everyday conversations.  When someone comes to you with basic questions about the Catholic faith, you may impress them with your deep theological theories, but that may not be what they are looking for.  They may not be ready to discuss papal infallibility or the meaning of transubstantiation.  Instead, they may be seeking the basic truths of why Jesus is Lord and why He set up His Church.

As someone who studied web design, an important part of design is remembering the target audience.  In the same way, in what we write and what we say, we must always remember the audience.  Communication is a two-way process that involves both a sender and a receiver, a speaker and a listener.  Do not be a speaker for the sake of hearing your own voice; be a speaker for the sake of your listener.


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