For over forty years communication has been the center of my work. Teaching relies on communication. To me, preaching is teaching. Teaching communicates insights and understandings. Communication does more than transfer information. Communication also shares the insights and understandings information produces. No, I am not a master communicator. I am a student who hopes to continue learning.

I frequently am reminded that communication is a challenging, demanding, low success rate commitment. Why?

Some people hear what they expect to hear.
Some people listen when they decide beforehand the information will be relevant.
Some people hear to react rather than listen to comprehend.
Some people fear information they have not considered.
Some people are intimidated by old information that is new to them.
Some people listen to advance understanding.

None of this is new. The Old Testament and the Gospels speak of people who illustrate each observation. Most people misunderstood Jesus. His own disciples struggled with some of his teachings and actions. Yet, he still taught and did the things they did not understand. Why? He lived and taught to be people's window to God.

We Christians teach to be windows to Jesus. When we point people toward an understanding of Jesus, Jesus points them to an understanding of God. The best picture of God the Father is seen in Jesus' life and teachings.

The following are not intended as criticisms, but as illustrations. (1) Several told me they heard excellent things about my son Jon's seminar/interaction sessions on personality types Saturday morning. Some said, "I am sorry I did not come --I did not know I could." (2) I recently have heard several reports from people who did not know "Peak of the Week" occurs each Wednesday night. (3) For years I have been amazed at what some say I said in a lesson [both good and bad statements].

Communicating is difficult. Why? (1) Sharing unfamiliar information is difficult. (2) Sharing unfamiliar insights is equally (maybe more so?) difficult.

Two thousand years ago Jesus quoted a prophet's writings. The prophet lived hundreds of years before Jesus' birth. Jesus used the quotation to explain his use of parables. "With their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes, otherwise they would see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I would heal them" (Matthew 13:15). Communication always has been difficult, even for Isaiah and Jesus.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 21 July 2002

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