Sarah Dull: Foreign
I have never taken to foreign languages. Over the years I have attempted Spanish, French, German and Greek, and have sadly watched as each new language remained out of reach. I study for hours upon hours. I ask my professors for help. Yet I still can't seem to know enough to succeed.
I feel the church takes to foreign "things" in the same way I take to foreign languages. We might give it a good try but ultimately we cannot hold on to the new lessons that are being shown to us. A new way to worship? A new way to minister to our community? Another new pastor? No thank you, I would rather stick with what I know. Yet when we stick to what we know we often lose out on the opportunities to grow and to change for the better.
Coming from a small town, I am well aware of the "ways things are" and the "ways things always have been." These ways are often fine tuned machines that produce year after year but sometimes, these ways are killing our churches. So how do we deal with foreign practices?
Professor Stephen Chapman saw me studying for Hebrew one day in the library and offered me this piece of advice: When you study a vocabulary word, look at the word in Hebrew…then the word in English…and then the word in Hebrew once more.
Our churches should do the same.
When we experience something foreign, different or new, we should compare it to what we already know. Once we are able to associate it with something we do know, we should consider the foreign idea once more. This way, we may be able to comprehend. This way we might be able to realize that these foreign things aren't so foreign after all. Instead they are new ways of dealing with the things we have always known, things that can grow and strengthen our churches.
— Sarah Dull D’13