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by Dan Blankenship
© 2008 Dan Blankenship
In the 1970s, the singer Gary Wright released a song called Dreamweaver. The song was a huge hit and still gets plenty of airplay even today. But the funny thing is, for years I thought the song was called Jane Weaver. Wright’s New Jersey accent made it seem like he was singing about a woman rather than a mythical person who controls our dreams when we sleep. It was an easy mistake, and some comedians have made lists of songs people have misinterpreted over the years. Each time I’ve discovered that a song is not saying what I thought I heard, I’ve wondered if people who reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ are not suffering from the same type of misinterpretation. After all, sometimes our Christian accent doesn’t mesh with people’s backgrounds, real life experiences, or view of the world.
Spreading the Good News is sometimes met with outright rejection and anger, but it is not always the messengers’ fault for such a reaction. Some people are not hearing what we’re saying. Their experiences are different than ours. Their view of the world around them has them seeing in a different light than the messengers. It is very hard to breakthrough that barrier and clearly present the message of hope the Bible offers. Understanding that we all actually have spiritual accents can do a lot to prepare us to communicate what we believe to others.
Some people have come to believe that Christians see their faith as an exclusive club, determined to cast aside anyone who differs from what they believe. We Christians must change our presentations to the masses and make it clear that the exact opposite is true; we long to see every human on the planet experience the joy of knowing we all belong to one family – the family of God’s children and creation. Christianity is an inclusive faith that offers redemption, renewal, and reverence for our fellowman.
The brother or sister in Christ who hits a roadblock when reaching out to others should always consider the misinterpretation factor. Just like I never heard the word Dreamweaver in Gary Wright’s song, the people we’re preaching to may never hear exactly what we’re trying to say unless we can say it clearly and in an accent they can understand. This challenges us to use many techniques (books, videos, and songs) when presenting the Gospel, and to ask for help from those with more experience when we need it. Are you up to the challenge?
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