Mob Psycho 100 and the Limitations of Perspective

Mob Psycho 100 is perhaps most known for being written by the same author as One Punch Man. The second season started this January, and I was all ready for another season of senseless fun and action. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the season this time around seemed to be more interested in pushing actual serious topics more than the first season. In episode 3, Reigan and Mob are asked to exorcise an “evil” spirit. However, after confronting the spirits and talking to them, Mob finds that they are a peaceful family who are only trying to complete the regret of not being able to be a happy family together while they were still alive. As such, Mob does not think they need to be exorcised like the usual spirits he eliminates. However, the clients (who can’t hear or interact with the spirits) don’t care what they or Mob have to say. The mere concept of spirits is that of evil and fear, and so to them, it is necessary to exorcise them regardless of any other reasoning. In this way, Mob is confronted with two different sides: the human side and the spirit side. Although the problem is resolved peacefully, Reigen realizes that Mob is someone who interacts with spirits on such a regular basis, that there is nothing abnormal about spirits to him. Rather than being a “fearful unknown,” spirits are simply a natural part of everyday life. It is a perspective that only Mob understands because of his affiliation with the spiritual.

So the natural comparison to draw here is that as Christians, we perceive the spiritual in terms of morality, sin, and mercy in ways that others do not comprehend as instinctively as we do. But rather than focusing on a holier-than-thou approach, I really want to focus only on the part that Christians perceive and think about things differently, without assigning any implication of that perception being better or worse. One frustration I have with Christians is that we tend to leap to judgmental assumptions about people who don’t share the same values or sense or morals as we do. Morality is a very tricky and sensitive subject because it is by definition a topic of right or wrong, good or evil. So it is understandable that people, especially those who believe in an objective morality determined by an all-powerful God, are so insulted by those who disagree with their sense of morals. As such, Christians get so upset when they see or hear about people who are not following the morals of Christianity. There are two problems with this. The first is that just because people are not following Christian values does not mean they are bad people or intentionally breaking any sense of moral code. There are probably hundreds of millions of people who, by any reasonable standard, are “good” people despite not believing in Christianity’s morals. I personally know many wonderful people who I strongly disagree with on certain topics. But they still care for others and try to be understanding about others’ feelings and perspectives, such as my own. They may be perceiving morality differently, but they are still striving to be people of respectable morality. These people are very different than those who actually lack a sense of morality or actively break laws for their own gains. The second is problem is that we Christians should not even be getting so judgment in the first place. The entire crux of Christianity is that we are all sinners; there is not one infallible person among us. Yet somehow Christians who sin are more acceptable to us because they “repent.” If anything, I would imagine it to be the other way around; Christians are the ones who should know better than to sin.

Reigen recognizes how different Mob’s perspective is compared to others. It’s not a matter of being special or more knowledgeable. It is nothing more than a statement of fact. He sees the world differently, and as a result, has feelings regarding things that completely contradict how others feel. It is not necessarily a matter of being right or wrong. Certainly, one can argue that Mob was in the right because the spirits were determined to do no harm. Even when tempted into anger, the father ghost resists and would rather be exorcised than harm a person.  However, the real point of contention was not who was morally correct; it was the contradicting perspectives of the characters at no fault of any of them. Even if we are to assume Mob was morally correct; even if we are to assume Christians are morally superior, the lack of perspective of the other side makes it so that they are not choosing to be wrong. They are simply unable to even perceive the “right” choice as a potential option. Therefore, rather than judging and becoming “morally” angry at people who do not follow Christian morals, what we should be doing is conversing about our different perspectives, why we believe them beyond “because my pastor says so,” (and I could rant a whole lot about the differences between morals described in the Bible versus morals described by “Christian” leadership)  and broadening perspectives of both parties – because as much of a perspective as others may be missing out on compared to Christians, Christians are missing out on the perspectives of others.

Therefore, let’s flip this moral superiority assumption Christians love to talk about and listen to. What if Christians are the ones who are morally wrong? What if we are the ones who simply don’t understand the reality of the world? The only way to prove otherwise is to go out and learn everything about the perspectives of others and then still decide Christianity to be the most moral option. As long as Christians don’t understand the perspectives of other beliefs, then we can’t say we are choosing Christianity or Jesus –we have not considered any other options. The fact of the matter is Christians rarely argue in good faith. Whenever they debate other perspectives, they always enter with the belief they are right; to be fair, opposing parties tend to do the same. Regardless, the point I want to make is that Christians all too often fail to understand or even consider other perspectives. Even when they legitimately attempt to, they can’t help but let their beliefs dye their interpretation of other perspectives with bias. And no wonder this happens when we are indoctrinated with beliefs from before we know how to speak.

No matter how much we want to believe we are being open-minded, we cannot fully escape from beliefs that have been repeated by everyone we know for our entire childhood. It is so difficult to truly approach a new perspective with an unbiased point of view. Sure, this happens to everyone, but when your belief is that you are on the side of an all powerful God who has decided the moral objectivity and superiority of life, that’s a far more powerful influence than anything else. And so, we become like a normal human who believes spirits exist to terrorize the living and demands an exorcism of innocent and peaceful spirits. Christians are so bad at actually learning about other perspectives. Not only does this prevent us from successfully reaching out to other people, but it also hurts our own spirituality. Because if you haven’t gone out and learned about other beliefs and made a real, unbiased choice to be a Christian, then you never chose to be a believer; you only followed the path that your limited perspective allowed you to make.

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Planet With: Sealing Away Those Who Stray From The Path of Love

In a season where everyone was talking about Hero Academia and Attack on Titan, the actual best anime of the season goes unnoticed by many. Planet With is an anime written by none other than Mizukami Satoshi, the author who penned the legendary manga Hoshi no Samidare.  Anyone who was around back then will remember the countless threads and memes about how we will never get a Samidare anime. Finally, after all these years, we have gotten the closest thing to a Samidare anime. Mizukami is one of the best mangaka of our time, with his stories being full of amazing action, whacky but loveable characters, powerful messages, and what is sorely lacking the most in manga: satisfying endings. Planet With has all of that in anime form, and it has only made me wish even more for his works to get an anime.

Like all Mizukami works, the fight scenes make for great entertainment, but it’s really the message of the story that sets the plot apart from others. In the universe of Planet With, humans have been marked as a species which is evolving too quickly and heading down a path of destruction. Since they are unlikely to choose the path of love, Nebula wishes to seal humanity away in dreams of happiness. However, one person (cat) in Nebula wishes to watch over humanity peacefully with the optimism that they will choose the path of love. He partners with the sole survivor of Sirius, a planet which chose destruction over love, to protect the Earth and show the potential of love that humans have.

For a 1 cour anime, its plot is difficult to summarize succinctly, and I have left out a lot of important details. Even so, I think the major point is conveyed – Planet With is a story about choosing love and forgiveness over hate and destruction and the trials that come with it. It is difficult to believe in the potential for love of those who are filled with hate, and it is even more difficult to forgive those who performed acts of hatred and violence. At what point should you draw the line and stop people from acting out their evil desires? If a group of people is consistently producing violence, is it justified to punish the entire group, including those who have yet to commit any faults? Nebula believes in stopping a species from evolving if they show signs of danger. In contrast, the protagonists want to keep believing that humanity will choose the path of love.

Oops we did.

Planet With’s story applies to Christians in the way we could view ourselves. Christians are capable of so much good, but it would be foolish to ignore all the evils we have committed and continue to commit in the name of God. Recently, I have become more and more disappointed with “Christians.” It was not long ago that I argued the ones atheists always complain about were the small minority who gave Christians a bad name. You could find recent blog posts I wrote only a few years ago that said that. Yet it is becoming increasingly clear to me that such hateful Christians are far from a minority. Maybe the ones who need to be sealed away are Christians…is what crossed my mind as I watched certain characters in the story think the same of their own species. But Planet With is a story of hope, love, and forgiveness. Despite so many characters wanting to seal away humanity, they eventually come together and hope for a better future. Even so, you cannot forgive others without first acknowledging the sins they commit. Like my own self only a few years ago, it’s clear that one of the biggest problems with Christianity now is not only those who corrupt its name but also all of us who passively let those around us continue evil and immoral acts. Even some of the most loving, respectable Christians I know will only acknowledge the Pharisees of today in closed circles and call for prayer that they see the error of their ways. However, this has only served to make the problem fester and the corruption of Christianity from the inside has blossomed thanks to all of us who tried to downplay the problems. I, too, am part of the problem.

I think you mean Christians

Today, the Republican “party of Christian values,” supported by millions of conservative Christians, have come out defending pedophilia, Nazis, murderers, rapists, concentration camps, calling the media the enemy of the people, and other horrors that Christians should be directly against; or, basically what every fascist dictatorship looks like in both fiction and reality. After a lot of thinking and reading about how this insanity came about, I think the biggest problem has been because Christians so rarely speak out against each other.  In Planet With, Nebula is the organization of those who chose the path of love. Yet, when one of their own performs his own idea of justice, they banish him. Christians are called to judge not those outside the Church but those inside the Church so that we are not corrupted from the inside out. We have absolutely failed in that regard.

Even the most liberal pastors I respect speak of the changes in society’s culture and the spread of immorality as reasons why people are fleeing Christianity. I think it is clear that the biggest issue is not the immorality of today’s society but the immorality of today’s Christianity. Christians around me are quick to pray for fellow Christians that they might see why they are wrong, but they aren’t willing to speak out against them, even in today’s climate. So while there are large numbers who actively support neo-Nazis, violence, and racist hatred, there are millions more who passively support it by “avoiding politics” because they either won’t confront those who do or they don’t even realize it is happening. Even worse are the ones who verbally disagree with what’s happening then go on to vote for “Christian” Republicans who will *intentionally* make the situation even worse. The culture of staying away from politics has resulted in millions of Christians who simple wonder how things are so bad when this is exactly what all those critical atheists have been trying to warn us about for decades. What’s happening is not new; it has been festering for years and years and been conveniently ignored under the guise of politics. We have developed a culture that doesn’t discuss politics because it so easily brings out the worst in us. Yet isn’t it because we are so reluctant to witness the worst in others that things like racism, murders, and terrorism can be supported by people we otherwise thought to be good Christians? If the debate of forcibly removing children from parents and locking them up in cages is a political issue, then what isn’t political? We’re now at the point where Christian leadership is no longer just hypocritical, but many leaders are outright lying with messages of hate and fear, and effectively building cults rather than communities for the sake of power and money.

As recent news has revealed, Christian churches and leadership, among many other organizations, have been targeted for infiltration and manipulation for nefarious purposes over the last several decades in what is likely the most sophisticated and coordinated propaganda attack modern society has experienced (and continues to experience). Through extremely slow but methodical influences, Christianity has been corrupted from the inside. What might have started as affirming disgruntled Christians regarding illegal immigration can, over the course of 30+ years of constant lies and fear-mongering, become a justification for concentration camps and eventually genocide. And throughout this time, Christians such as me have done little other than saying that such people are a tiny minority. But this is not just a few people who don’t misunderstand a couple tenants of Christianity; this is a deliberate, malicious, and extremely successful attack on Christianity that has come to fruition, and nobody seems to be able to accept this. Of course, I’m just being a paranoid alarmist here; I’m sure those who warned German citizens about Nazis were just alarmists too. What pains me most is when so many of my Christian friends call it a spiritual problem and pray for it but do nothing else. Yes, there is a spiritual aspect, but it is by and large a physical problem that can be countered by real actions. Prayer is great, but it is also the easy way out rather than confronting those who continue to make the problem worse. After all, what good is faith without works?

With the advent of the internet and social media, there is so much propaganda fanning the flames of hate or at best, frustration at “both sides,” among us, without Christians ever recognizing that it is an intentional, human act to sow discord, hatred, and perhaps even worse, apathy and exhaustion.  Republicans of today only care for power and are manipulating the country with massive amounts of propaganda and blatant lies to maintain that power, with a particular reliance on the Christian communities to remain ignorant, fearful, and uneducated, or at least, uninvolved in politics. The calls for fear and hatred of immigrants and “others” is exactly what you would see in every fascist’s rise to power. It is now, when so many Christians view so much of the world as enemies, that the story of the Good Samaritan and who are neighbors are is most poignant. If Christians do not speak out now, when we currently have calls for white supremacy nationalism and stochastic terrorism from many of the Republican leaders, who are supported by millions of “Christians,” then when will we speak out against such evils? To every person who still does not acknowledge this truth yet: you are exactly how things like the Holocaust happen without anyone stopping it – a lot of propaganda and refusal to admit things are as bad as they are until it’s too late.

How to forgive the one who murdered your entire species?

To tie all of this back into my original point: large portions of Christianity are on a clear path of immorality due to corruption from the inside. We are so busy looking to non-believers and spreading the Gospel to those who have never heard it, that we have neglected nurturing those who claim they have heard it but are now misguided in ways that cannot be rectified easily. I no longer have any words to refute those who think Christianity should be sealed away and removed from society because for better or worse, I am finally being exposed to just how hateful, cruel, and numerous so-called “Christians” can be while invoking God’s name and the countless others who turn a blind eye to it. But Planet With is a story of love and forgiveness. Rather than choosing hatred and revenge, the characters choose to forgive; however, that does not mean a lack of punishment. While the big bad villain is forgiven, he is also properly punished, and it is through facing a punishment that lacks hatred that he finds peace. It is an optimistically hopeful end that I’m sure many feel is too unrealistic to happen in today’s environment. Nonetheless, I want to continue hoping and believing in the best that people and Christianity have to offer. As tempting as it might be to seal away Christianity from society’s culture, I hope that people will mete out just punishment and go no further and keep believing in the potential of Christianity’s intended values and its path of love. But even then, I have no choice but to admit such a dream will be a long and arduous path.

Tsuki ga Kirei: The Cultural and Generational Gap of Technology

I have mostly been enjoying the Tsuki ga Kirei anime with its depiction of first love between two awkward teenagers.  The worst part has been the CGI, the best part has been the dokidoki romance; the second worst part has been the NTR, and the second best part has been whenever the NTR gets mercilessly crushed by our main characters. It’s great, adorable, and fun romance. It’ll never reach anything amazing like ef~A Tale of Memories/Melodies, but it has certainly managed to be very good at what it’s meant to do – depict awkward teenage romance. One of those aspects of awkward romance is the texting, where just thinking of what to write or how to respond can take minutes or hours. They ponder what to write then erase it and ponder more. Before they know it, the day has passed. Or when they do send a message, they wait in anticipation and anxiety. When they get a response back, their stomachs fill with butterflies and they blush and rejoice at the simplest thing. This is painfully reminiscent of my own teenage years. But it is also a thing that is very new to the world of dating and childhood.

She’s so adorable

The progression and evolution of technology has been unbelievably rapid the past hundred years and especially the past twenty years. This has changed not just how we live as a society and culture but how children are raised, and this creates generational gaps that are increasingly more difficult to overcome. Many parents do not even understand the technology that exists. Just think of the stereotype of trying to teach your mom how to use a computer or a smart phone; it’s more often true than not. How could a generation that struggles to understand emerging technology possibly understand what it’s like to grow up with that technology as part of your daily life? The answer is they can’t. And as technology continues to progress with AR and VR and even the fast paced evolution of internet culture which changes by the day, I, too, will be unable to understand the next generation. In fact, I already experience this with teenagers using terminology and memes I don’t understand. My 2 year old memes and slang are already outdated. But more than that, I also don’t understand what it’s even like to grow up with the internet as it exists today. When I was a kid, the internet was new and everyone was exploring what it could do. On dial-up internet. Today, the internet is exponentially large in comparison, with all of it at your fingertips on demand. Of course I can’t understand what it’s like to grow up with that kind of technology, at a time in one’s life where you are still learning about yourself.

Throughout the ages, parents have a habit of casting aside their children’s complaints about not understanding them. Because parents have far more life experience, they know what’s best for their children and have the right to ignore what they have to say. But every now and then, that’s not true. Parents (or adults) are still humans, and perhaps more often than we’d like to admit, the kids may know more about the situation than we do. Even with this generational gap in technology, we adults might think that just because we use the same, new technology, we can understand what’s best. But I think that’s just arrogance speaking. The different generations will use the technology differently, and this will create an entire generational culture of how they interact with the technology, one that may be completely different than the one we see and understand. Now, as someone without kids, I’m not here to tell parents how to raise their kids. However, I do think it’s important to realize that these massive developments in technology mean children are going to have a completely unique and foreign experience growing up online. As a result, the interactions with technology as you understand it will not necessarily be applicable, and it will be important to make judgments as a parent based on the culture of the children rather than the internet culture that you understand as an adult.

In similar ways, there is a cultural gap when it comes to Japan and technology. Most people fail to realize it, but Japan’s use of technology is very different than the way ours works and they are still, in many ways, living in the 90s, largely because Japan has a staunch refusal to adapt to new methodologies. They still love to use the fax machine, for example, and their website designs make you feel like you’ve gone back in time. Although slowly changing, few people have their own computers. The PC never really took off in Japan, and consequently, Japanese people have some pretty abysmal IT skills. Email is something that many older people fail to comprehend beyond the most basic usage; they use it, but they can’t understand any of its more “complex” uses, like bcc or attachments (because bcc means someone is spying and attachments all have viruses). Even when I went to Todai, most of the students had no idea how to troubleshoot a computer or how to do a lot of things I would consider simple (at least for a student at a top university). At the same time, the younger generation lives on their phones even more than we do, whether they are gaming or texting or browsing the internet (in great contrast, much of the older generation still loves their flip phones).  As a Westerner, it can be surprising to see a culture that is so divided in their use of 21st century technology. I am no expert about the exact mechanisms that happened to cause this, and that is an entire topic by itself, but it is suffice to say that this is the strange reality. Therefore, with a culture so different when it comes to technology, a similar thing occurs with the aforementioned generational gap. In fact, I would argue this cultural gap is compounded by any existing generational gap, making it even harder for Westerners to understand how these people interact with the technology around them.

LINE is really popular

Thus, I come to the main focus of what I wish to rant about. From what I have seen from Japanese churches and missionaries, the majority utilize Facebook as their social media of choice. It is the largest and most successful one, and we can easily see how useful it is in the West. However, I would argue this is an incredibly large mistake being made by people who have fallen victim to this generational and cultural gap of technology, or in this case, social media. By far the most used social media in Japan, especially with the younger generation, is Twitter and Line. You see both of these in anime on a fairly regular basis, and Tsuki ga Kirei features Line quite heavily as well. The obvious reason for that is what I’ve just stated: these are ridiculously popular in Japan. If missionaries want to reach out to the Japanese with social media, then they should really be using Twitter and Line, not Facebook.

In fact, I would argue using Facebook is not only a lesser choice but a counterproductive choice. Culturally, Japan does not use Facebook the way we do in the West. Many of them use it closer to LinkedIn, as a professional profile and/or blog. This is fairly dependent on how “Westernized” the individual is, but it is also worth noting that this means they are very unlikely to engage with things that will be perceived negatively by the public, i.e. Christianity. Thus, a Japanese person is actually motivated to avoid your Facebook page, regardless of curiosity. The same is not true of Twitter or Line. It is here that they can live out their online personas. In fact, this phenomenon is seen to a smaller degree in the West, and I am willing to bet most of you are more willing to show off your anime interests using online names rather than on Facebook. The anonymity of the internet is incredibly important to people, and so it follows that the Japanese would be more willing to engage with Christian content when their real names are not involved.

Yet, this power of anonymity goes even further. As someone who follows a number of Japanese people on Twitter, I know for a fact that many people are willing to open up to the internet about how they are feeling, what they struggle with, and their concerns about the future. I am not even talking about conversations; they post these things on Twitter for all to see without any prompting from others. Missionaries always talk about how hard it is to get the Japanese to open up and talk honestly, how hard it is to befriend them and have these kinds of conversations. They are right, but the power of the internet and anonymity makes this orders of magnitudes easier and simpler.  These people are already talking about exactly the things Christians claim are difficult to learn about, yet there are practically no Christians listening to them. So why are churches and missionaries not utilizing these social media over Facebook?

The only conclusion I can draw is because there is an enormous cultural and/or generational gap in understanding how these people interact with technology.  So in case you haven’t realized by now, I am once again criticizing Japan missionaries everywhere for their ignorance about the country they claim to love so much. Granted, I know there are examples of Christians using Twitter as a form of outreach, but for every one of those, I know ten others that prefer Facebook. I have said it before, but I often wonder if Japan missionaries have become too complacent and accepting of the smallest victories. They have used the excuse that Japanese people require years of work and friendship before opening up to others (which is generally true) such that they do not consider their current methodology is inefficient for reasons besides the aforementioned excuse, trapped in a self-fulfilling prophecy of miniature gains. All of you Japan missionaries who don’t use Twitter and Line clearly don’t know what you’re doing, so please fix it.

We Are All Terrible Communicators

The more I study Japanese, the more I realize how bad English translations are, not entirely at the fault of the translators. The languages are just so different and the nuances simply aren’t conveyed the same way. But more than things being lost in translation, I am learning just how much is lost in everyday communication, when the language of the speaker and listener is the same. In the anime Seikaisuru Kado, this idea of miscommunication and loss of information through language is used during the communication of humans with the higher dimensional being Yaha-kui zaShunina. He explains that no matter how effective language is, it can never communicate 100% of the intended information. Without a full understanding of an idea, miscommunication will certainly occur. As one of the main characters Shindo tries to communicate with him and find proper terminology, Yaha-ku zaShunina (I really don’t want to write this name out any more) often gives out scores for how accurately the information was understood, constantly noting that their communication is imperfect.

Nisio Isin of the Monogatari/Zaregoto series actually has an interesting quote on the matter of communication as well

People can’t express their thoughts a hundred percent, and what does get expressed isn’t going to make it across a hundred percent; in practice, you’re at sixty percent for each if things go well, which would mean the audience of a work gets only thirty-six percent of what the author is thinking. The other sixty-four percent is made up of misunderstandings.

Granted, the context of the quote is about authors commenting on their own work and how different people inevitably end up interpreting the same work differently (a topic that perhaps deserves its own post). However, in the context of communication in general, I find the quote to be equally relevant. Perhaps the numbers are a bit too arbitrary, but the basic sentiment holds true. Some people are skilled at expressing themselves with words, but many of us are not. How often do you struggle to find the right words only to realize you still chose the wrong ones? How often do you think someone meant one thing, only for them to counter with “that’s not what I meant”? Additionally, language itself is not perfect. Sometimes the perfect words still fall short of your intended meaning, and sometimes the clearest words will still be misinterpreted by people with a different understanding of how those words are used. I mean, we live in a world where the usage of a word like covfefe can evolve overnight.

Communication is arguably the most important thing when interacting with other people, but it takes far more effort than we like to admit, and that’s largely because so much of it involves miscommunication. Even so, disagreements are often attributed to differences in opinions, ignorance of opposing parties, or even stupidity. And sometimes these may very well be true. Everyone is ignorant about different things; we can’t all understand every topic. As harsh as it sounds, some people are less intelligent than others and can’t comprehend complex topics as easily. But if we are to acknowledge the miscommunication that arises from both a speaker’s inability to fully express their thoughts and a listener’s inability to fully interpret those words, I think we will find that many arguments are simple (or perhaps, complex) misunderstandings. Even how a word is used and interpreted differently can cause these kinds of misunderstandings.

Take for example, the term “Christian.” It should be a word that clearly denotes devotion to Christ and belief in the Gospel message. Yet somehow, it can mean a million different things. Which denomination are you? Do you go to church? Do you hate anime? Do you celebrate the idea of sinners suffering in hell? Do you believe in Christ? (I have had “Christians” tell me that their denomination does not…) A great deal of clarity is required to determine what kind of Christian you are talking about; by itself, it means almost nothing. People have all kinds of different ideas of what a given word means to them. Even though language has dictionary definitions of words, the fact remains that definitions change based on how we choose to use words, and that flux is further dependent on things like culture, beliefs, and personal experiences.

If a single word can cause confusion without follow up clarity, you can begin to imagine how many problems can arise with the added complications of context (or lack thereof), tone (which can be both helpful or detrimental), cultural differences, and worst of all, things being left unsaid entirely due to whatever human emotions we have like embarrassment or distrust. Unfortunately, we take language and communication for granted and more often than not assume what we interpreted is true, simply because the words have a clear meaning to us; in fact, this is the very crux of miscommunication as there is no reason to doubt out internal interpretation of what we hear. It is surprisingly easy for this misstep to snowball into a back and forth argument that sounds like the two are talking about the same thing but in their heads, they really aren’t.

I suppose no matter how much I write, you are likely to misunderstand some of the things I am trying to say, making for a rather ironic post. When we consider that the original quote from Nisio was in Japanese, we have an added layer of lost information and probably a pun or two because what else would you expect from Nisio? Even so, if we were to score ourselves on how accurately we interpret words around us, I think an assessment of 36% as an overall average is not too far from the truth. Especially when it comes to abstract things like how or why you are feeling a certain way or why your opinion on something is the way it is, it simply isn’t possible for language to communicate these things with 100% accuracy.

It is only natural, then, that Christians are just as vulnerable to this as much as anyone else. Yet, far too many Christians are too quick to judge what others are saying without considering that miscommunication is possible. Whether this is trying to reach out to others or listening to your pastor on Sunday morning, we internalize what we perceive to be true without questioning how accurate those perceptions are. It is so easy to misunderstand the intent of what is said because of these issues of communication, our own prejudices, and the influences of our own desires on interpretation. This extends to every aspect of our lives, and it is dangerously easy to think nothing is being misunderstood. As Christians (or even as humans), we need to make sure we understand the feelings and thoughts of those around us if we want to properly build community, and that can only be obtained through proper communication.

Therefore, I want to challenge everyone to critically think and question your own perceptions of everything you hear around you and in turn, realize how poor at communication everyone really is. The only real solution to poor communication is to communicate more with an open mind and an earnest desire to understand others.  Especially as Christians who are called to love others, it is imperative that we do not act on misunderstandings. In order to truly build a bridge between Christians and non-believers, it is necessary to have clear and precise communication, something that is often not addressed completely when Christians speak of outreach and missions. Communication is hard, and we will never truly get over this barrier; however, the more aware we make ourselves of this problem and educate others on it, the better we can close the gap of misunderstandings.