My sabatical is over. Funny how not having a computer (or the internet, specifically) is such a mixed bowl of fruit. On the one hand, I loved not feeling like I simply had to check email, news and blogs. I loved sitting down and working on crocheting tiny little yarn animals instead of being zoned in on a computer screen in the evenings. I loved sitting around wondering what to do with myself after the kids were in bed.
On the other hand, it was pretty stinky having to borrow laptops from friends late at night (although we were very grateful for their generosity!) just to do our homework for phonetics, which entailed mimicking videos posted online by our teachers. I also was a little embarrassed when I was told yesterday by my mother that the US stock market crashed almost a week and a half ago and the economy is reeling. Um, a little out of the loop over here...
Our sounds and symbols phonetics class ended yesterday. It was a lot of fun, and it was exciting to see that all the symbols that had looked so foreign to us three weeks ago are now as familiar as the back of our hands... well, I'm kidding, but they are definately more familiar.
Today we were introduced to "Form and Meaning". This class was about communication. Communication is all about conveying a meaning to someone else, which can occur through verbal and nonverbal forms. Our teachers did a funny skit portraying communication difficulties between two different cultures. It is so interesting that what an individual does in one culture can be completely misunderstood in another culture.
For example, in our culture a firm handshake denotes confidence, warm friendship and goodwill (if it doesn't descend into a squeezing match that ends when someone yells, "Mercy"). But in another culture, a firm handshake can indicate a display of power, ego and one-upmanship.
So, we must be careful that the form of communication we choose to use will actually convey its intended meaning. We must encode our message in a way that it is understood by the hearer. Since we as believers in Jesus Christ have a life changing message, it is important that it is delivered in a way that it can be understood! Just think about how God encoded His message for us: the incarnation. God became man so that His message of salvation could be fully understood by mankind. God submitted Himself to the laws of communication that He created- laws that demand that all messages (meanings intended to be understood by the hearer) must be wrapped up in a form of some kind.
Then, God chose to have His plan for mankind recorded in another form- written words. How important it is that we can understand that form of communication! Simply another reason why we must go- and not demand that people learn to speak our language in order to hear the Gospel. I think it is a principle that can be applied to the Church as a whole, ministering in any culture, including our own. You can take that where you want to go with it. I digress...
Here are a few pictures as a reward for waiting so long for me to blog.
Squeak found a furry little friend:Our tropical living room plant, affectionately named Mac, suddenly bloomed last week! We were startled and then very proud, of course. The blossoms opened at night and closed during the day. It smelled like extremely potent lilacs (no offense, Mac).
Our three little monkeys jumping on the bed (check out the hair!):