1. Life is complicated.
2. Communication is complex.
And Where is the multi-lingual God in all this?
I've been learning Twitter. It's a strange language. I've learnt bits of many languages in my time- in this order: baby; English; French; Latin, German; Spanish; Mandarin; Phonetic alphabet; Teenage-speak; New Testament Greek; Facebook; Twitter. Not bad going for half way through my forties I suppose. Apart from Teenage-speak, Twitter is the oddest. Why do people learn Twitter? To communicate of course; mainly with strangers who share one's interests, but, boy it has to be brief; and this can make communication a little random...how about a tweet for Pentecost: in under 140 characters (does this include punctuation?)
Not drunk, only 9am, Joel right, last days, Spirit on ALL, be saved, portents, Day of the Lord, call out, God's plan, resurrection Messiah, repent believe be baptised. #peteratpentecost
(140, including punctuation).
I want to learn multiple languages so I can understand the culture in which I live, and be fluent in communicating the gospel within it. If this means learning Twitter or Facebook, bring it on. But what with email, land line, mobile, work mobile, smartphone, Facebook, Twitter and complicated work/life patterns, there are still numerous and ever complicating language barriers:
'Oh I didn't see your message on the answer phone till it was too late.'
'I couldn't retrieve your message; the signal here is terrible.'
'I Facebook messaged you last night about the rehearsal...'
'My email to you keeps bouncing back.'
'Don't phone the land line; I'll be at work.'
'Don't phone work; leave a message on my mobile.'
'Just replying to the message you left re. my message last night...'
'I never got that text...'
Just some of the real life obstacles to communication one encounters when learning new languages in the atomising 21st Century (that sometimes bewildering and complex place where we conduct Christian ministry now).
By and large the message doesn't change ('Jesus is Lord' just about does it for me...) but the medium does; sometimes too rapidly and confusingly for us all.
Oh for that real, connecting communication which changed lives, as tongues of the Spirit lit up the first Pentecost, equipping the followers of Jesus to be multi-lingual for the sake of the gospel.