So, my family finally talked me in to going to the doctor. I had been miserable and in pain for so long, that even I started to wonder if this extended beyond being a simple fibro flare. I came through with a clean bill of health: no sickness, no high blood pressure, nothing out of whack. All of my symptoms could be directly linked to a severe fibromyalgia flare. The doctor on duty, spoke clearly and plainly about what I was experiencing and the fact that lack of good sleep was probably contributing to the extended flare up, which is why she wrote a prescription for muscle relaxants. She felt that if I could get the muscles to relax, I could get deeper, uninterrupted sleep, which would then break the cycle and allow the flare to subside. She understood my family's concern but she also understood my need to keep going, in order to care for my family. I admit, when it comes to seeing a doctor I am a reluctant patient because sometimes their conversations with me end up being more like listening to a person speak a foreign language! Her clear explanation and candor was utterly refreshing!
Contrast this to the letter that came in the mail over the weekend from our school district. I have read the letter four or five times and I still do not fully get what they are trying to tell me, as a parent. From what I can glean, it seems that the district failed to meet certain testing standards in regards to "No Child Left Behind". This is the fourth year it has happened and that puts the district at level 3. There is no explanation of what this means or how it impacts my child. And as far as how they intend to address the problem it mentions evaluating and updating the district plan, and that they "collaboratively establish action plans and implement strategies that improve teaching and learning." Huh? I even went to the state website to see if I could find an explanation of what exactly this means. It was no better than the gibberish letter that the district sent out! It's like they are speaking their own language, which they fully understand, but leaves the rest of us scratching our heads!
This got me thinking about the church and how we communicate with others. Do we speak clearly and simply enough so that someone who doesn't attend church understands what we are saying? Or do we use our church-speak and assume that everybody must know what these terms mean? How different is Call to Action from No Child Left Behind? Lots of warm and fuzzy gibberish that makes it sound important bu,t in the scheme of things, means absolutely nothing to someone who is not familiar with the terminology! Even some individuals who do understand the wording, feel that it is an exercise in futility.
Are we afraid to speak plainly? Do we prefer not to speak plainly because it gives us an edge of superiority, or, are we unaware that we are speaking in a way that has no meaning to someone else? My guess is that it is a little bit of all of the above. That mix is something that we should examine carefully if we want to get our message across clearly.
I was reading this morning about King Josiah in Second Chronicles 34. In the chapter it tells how Hilkiah the high priest found a copy of the Revelation of Moses. He gave the book to the King's assistant, Shaphan, who then read it to King Josiah. King Josiah was so shocked by what he heard, that he ripped his robes in dismay. He understood what was contained in the book and he understood that God clearly must be angry with Israel because they had not followed what had been laid out in the book. The book had been "lost" for generations yet it was laid out clearly enough that even someone who was unfamiliar with it, could understand what it contained and what it meant!
Can we say that our message is so clear that it can be understood by someone who is not familiar with it? Can we say that we are clearly and effectively communicating with the world at large? Could our lack of clear communication be our problem? Do people who hear our message think to themselves "what language is that???" Are we, in essence, setting up stumbling blocks for people who are "outside" of our circle?
What is that language that we speak? Can we find ways to communicate our message more clearly?
May God in his wisdom help us all to speak more plainly!