Tuesday, February 13, 2007

And then there was SNOW

Heather and I are hanging out in Ajax with her parents. Doctor's stuff tomorrow. It looks to be a pleasant evening. I have thoughts to post some more on constructive reading. Hopefully that comes soon.

There appears to be a massive amount of snowfall scheduled to hit Hamilton through GTA. Looking forward to driving through that tomorrow!

Have a good night!

Communication Theory

This post has been a long time coming. It revolves around ideas gathered, digested, re-thought, analyzed, broken down, and finally, happily, nay gloriously felt by the heart. (Of course, I wish I could explain the way I feel about these things more clearly, but alas, I am constrained by language)


1. People want proper communication.

I was thinking about my experience in the realm of communication. I look at the way technology has developed to allow both faster ways of communicating, and more of it. I wonder, alongside many others, whether this increases our understanding of what is being said. But all this has been thought, and talked over, and I don't wish to get too bogged down in it.

When I say "people want proper communication", I am both referring to an older meaning of want, which means "lack", and the more recent meaning: "desire". I think both meanings can be applied to myself in that I lack a proper way of communicating, and a desire to communicate in that way. Lets unpack.

A. Lacking a proper way of communicating

In my own life, I see a few areas which are problematic, and under repair, with regard to communication. I will use these as springboards for discussion here.

i. Need to understand the difference between Informative and Intimate Communication

This refers to the difference between something like MSN, and a genuine chat over a hot-chocolate (coffee isn't my thing..:). It is fundamental in understanding this stuff. I can't expect a massively deep conversation out of every human being I interact with. Yet sadly, in my search of quality conversation, I have stunted the precursor to it, and thwarted many relationship beginnings. This is to say that it is necessary to converse well about people's job, program, time-table, sports, movies, music, etc., before one can go deeper. This is not to say that Informative communication ought to dominate all conversation. While affirming the need for the informative, I would also look at how shamefully I have spent hours with Christians, never delving into Scripture, or probing subjects of God. There is a need for both. Finally, both Informative and Intimate communication is sustained by time spent doing neither. In other words, you need to take a break from speaking sometimes, and go bowling, or skiing, or play basketball, or knit, or watch a flick, or whatever. Honour the Lord in this as well. It will refresh your communication in this way, and lead to conversations which last.

ii. Need to understand the art of listening

This one is close to my heart. I am really excited about learning to listen properly, so that I may communicate better with those I interact with. Fundamentally this means a few things (and Jerry or Paul may be able to help highlight/clarify this point).

---Clarify instead of Assuming---
The first words from your mouth should interact with whatever a person said so that you both agree about the thing being spoken of. Spend as much time as you can here. It is not a shameful thing to ask for clarification. It is rather honouring to the one who has spoken, because you are letting them know that you value what they have said enough to know exactly what they mean.

---Do not be Selfish with your brain---
Paul Lawton honed in on this one. He talked about a need for people (including himself) to stop formulating what they want to say during another person's speech, and rather hold on to the idea in the back of one's head. The result is that there is often spaces of time when noone is saying anything, but rather thinking (which for some reason makes everyone very nervous).

Another part of being selfish with your brain (and something I have experienced), is this idea: "I must say something which sounds intelligent about a given subject of discussion, so that I am heard, respected, and honoured." (of course no one actively says this, but this is essentially sin at its root). Think about it. How many times have you actively supressed the 6 ideas that came into your head during someone else's remarks. How many times have you blurted out this or that, or perhaps even interrupted someone else, because you felt very strongly that you should say something. Watch older, wiser people. Read Job. Stop being selfish with your brain.

---Give the Benefit of the Doubt---
Do you think people intentionally monopolize your conversation time? Most of the time they are not even aware of it. Instead practice...

You can't have intimate conversations without forcing people to think about changing their lives. My wife and I are constantly seeing eachother's sin, and we could easily avoid this by being dishonest with eachother. Sin is just too in your face. Be honest with those you talk with about the way they are conversing.

---Desiring to Edify while Communicating---
This is a biggy. Have you ever been talking with someone who repulses you with the way they talk? I don't mean so much the relative vulgarity of their language (but that could be included), but the fact that they don't seem to listen, and go on long rants which trail off into subjects which are not common to those in the conversation? Are you this person? I know that I have a major tendency to be like this. And chances are so do you, dear reader.

"Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing." (NASB)

God calls us to work hard at edifying (build up), which ought to include our speech. What this means is that we work hard at teaching others how to be good listeners. Instead of being turned off by those who struggle with this, we embrace them lovingly as brothers and sisters, knowing that they have skills and gifts which are meant to build us up. When you are turned off by it, you are not helping, but perpetuating the problem. Teach them by example, and by exhortation. Spend the hours needed to edify their souls, all for God's glory.

B. Lacking the desire to communicate properly

Its funny how, when I begin a piece of writing with the headings all in place, I tend to lose track of which thoughts go where. I touched on this above fairly extensively, (probably because I am so conditioned by last minute essay writing, I flush everything out right away.... sigh) but let me put some more point form things here for consideration.

-Desire to intimately communicate comes from a desire to know people, not from a desire to have people know you. This being said, there is a part of all of us which desires to be known.

-Don't get too busy in life so that you do not desire to intimately speak with people. A whole day of Informative Communication can drag you down.

-Set aside times to go places like Coffee Pubs, quiet Bars, people's houses, and talk with small groups of people.

-Spend time thinking and praying over God's word, so that your desire to speak intimately (and your conversations) will be based in things of value.


Be intentional about your speech, and be caring in it.



Thursday, February 08, 2007

Quick note

The artistic part of me is engaged in a new song with possible thoughts to finally bust out a second album (which will most likely contain a lot of the first one).

Its strange the price you pay to love and laugh and live
But then I think my mind is playing tricks on you
‘Cause I’d jump you like a car,
And watch you drain my batteries.

Truth is, you’re really not to blame for these times
You’re just doing your job, and pulling on the line
‘Cause I’d rig you up some bait,
To find out it’s just what you hate

I can’t force my thoughts under your skin
But I need to know when joy is going swimming again
‘Cause sorrow is the seaweed in this lake
And God knows I’ve been trying to shake it

I’d love to find a way to make you consistent
I’ll rally satisfaction to my cause
‘Cause I’d woo you with my song
To find it never quite turns you on

(I'll comment later on meaning. For now, have fun decontextualizing.)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Keeping up to Joe Cook...

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By Abigail Anderson