Monday, July 9, 2007

Another interesting question was posed to our Ministry Communication Skills class. What does Kraft mean when he writes that God “acts and speaks and then allows us to struggle with what these actions and words mean. When we have discovered the meaning, it is truly ours and has a greater impact than if he had done it all and made it easy for us” (p. 21)? Is he correct about this? If a message is easy to understand, does this necessarily make it less effective?

Kraft’s meaning seems clearer when read within the larger context. “He, rather, entices us to discovery rather than insulting our intelligence by predigesting his messages and laying them out on a platter in a form that is fully obvious” [1] Next is the quote in the question followed by, “God’s method is to lead people, as Jesus led his disciples, to discover who he is…rather than to simply tell them who he is.” [2]

Kraft is partially correct about this; after all, we are trying to understand the living, omnipotent, omniscient God. He may make it plain, but if it were easy, the subject matter would hardly be God. Just try to grab hold of some of the great scriptural paradoxes: the last are first and the first last (Mt 19:30), justification by faith (Eph 2:8) versus justification by works (Jas 2:24) and so on. Try understanding the doctrine of the trinity.

When we learn things by rote, we may know them, but do they have the same impact as experiential knowledge does? When we have studied, pondered and prayed over a difficult portion of scripture and the light goes on, that is an “Aha” moment, an epiphany. [3]

Contrast that with, “’I thank you, Father… because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants… Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest’” (Mt 11:25, 28). Which of us when frustrated and overwhelmed by the cares of this life can miss the meaning of “Come to me…I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28)? In this case, by ease of understanding, it is no less effective. We may receive more however, by additional study of the historical and religious context as well.

[1] Charles H. Kraft, Communication Theory for Christian Witness (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1991), 21.

[2] Ibid.

[3], Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: Living in God’s Amazing Grace. Online: [3 July 2007].

The Bible. New Revised Standard Version.

How do you struggle with God's Word? When you have had to struggle to come to the "Aha" moment, has it been more special to you?

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