Thursday, October 02, 2008

Up and Running Again

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!):


pat ve said...

Oh, wow, I'm glad you're up and running. I am SO happy that you like the linguistics part, and are able to see it in the context in which you desire to use it.
Even speaking in English to people who also speak English, our gestures and remarks have a great bearing on our testimony.
The pictures of your girls are a feast for a famished Grandma. It looks like all 3 have grown a lot since July. Did the crib stay in one piece? Did the wooly bear get sent outside, or are you keeping it as an indoor pet?
Well, I hope you can still enjoy some of those non-computer activities. It will be easier as daylight gets shorter.
Have a good night. Love, Mom

Desiree said...

Great pictures and great thougts. I find that fascinating too, about the different cultures. Western culture can be so confusing at times with our "freedom" to be whoever you want... So many different kinds of people. I wonder if, in countries where there isn't as much freedom of expression, it's a little easier to get to know another culture. One of the many things I think about in my spare time. hee hee Love you!

Kate said...

Glad to have you back! What big girls you have! I can't believe Winnie! :)

Anonymous said...


Patti and Bruce said...

welcome back :)

Jean said...

Your beautiful kiddo pictures are a great way for me to spend my rest time after a busy shopping day.

It sure looks like monkey #3 has grown longer hair since early July. Monkey #2 has a full blown head of hair now.

I guess monkey #1 looks about as one would expect in a mild wind storm.

Are you trying to get rid of the crib? Or was this a test of its durability?
The three Darlings in pink on the steps are very precious.

Oh, by the way we heard a speaker recently who said that "Darling" is defined originally as "Only beloved son"- I wonder how we came to apply it to all little well loved children and other loved ones.

Lots of love, A. Jean