The ninety-minute interview left me with several learning takeaways. Each came in the natural flow of our conversation. They have the potential to help me see the God I love more clearly.
Our conversation drifted into shared view about how one culture’s ability to be candid was a high form of integrity. While I realize the limits to our generalization, a literal translation of conversations reveals little political correctness. There is a prime role for individuals and personal views. They must be given time and an audience. Absent is the use of pleasant sounding metaphors to described body functions; the words are accurate and direct. As we reflected on the strengths of this approach, we both agreed that it would never work in Asia.
“How does one express the truth in this region?”
I did not have a perfect answer, then or now. I find the question of intent is one everyone should struggle with. I find myself wondering what happens when someone does not share what one knows? What if decisions are made based on assumptions no longer resting on fact? What about others who depend on the dialogue?
Having faith – in an idea and or a person – is risky. If the belief has no foundation, the impact extends beyond those immediately involved. If the hope found in the Christian Cross is false, as bad as it is for me, “it’s even worse for those who died hoping in Christ and resurrection, because they’re already in their graves.” (1 Corinthians 15.18)
In our conversation I had three suggestions reflecting what I try to remember.
Have patience with truth. When it does not appear as you imagine, listen for the larger story. Truth lives, in time, it will triumph. It will be clear.
Expressing the truth is not the answer in and of itself. Expressing the truth to others willing to hear is critical. Be cautious of the conversation with others, it may do more harm than good.
Hear and do something with the truth you have. There is truth within each, do something with it.