From my day with Leonard Sweet that I blogged about last week, one of his base concepts is that the language of the church is changing. He calls the shift the most important since Gutenberg created the printing press and that indeed the times we are in require a shift in perception and a willingness of the church to learn the language of the culture. The Gutenberg culture thinks in words and verses; the Google culture thinks in stories and narratives. And right at this moment both cultures are getting closer and closer to parity and both need to be taken seriously.
Sweet describes the paradigm shift from the Gutenberg World to the Google World well in this video:
- How is your church learning the language of the culture?
- How is your ministry context connecting with the images and narratives of the culture?
- How do you retain the Gutenberg generation while reaching the Google generation?
I think the most important concept is that Missionaries either taught the people English to explain their concepts or they learned the people’s language and re-framed the Christian concepts. In the former, the natives had to translate foreign concepts in an odd tongue. In the latter, the missionaries had to be the agents of translation from an English culture to the native culture.
Is your ministry context providing the translation services or are you expecting the culture to do the translation?