Monday, October 13, 2008

A Few Thoughtz: Black

Monica: Thomas? Can we talk on my level, just for a moment?

Thomas: What do you think I've been trying to do for the past two hours?

M: You've been talking on your level. Everything you're telling me makes perfect sense to you, but not to me.

(A couple of exchanges later...)

T: I don't know how I can be clearer. Either you believe me or you don't. You don't, so we have a problem.

M: You still aren't talking to me on my level. I'm trying to explain my predicament so you can address me as a real person. A woman who is...confused and frightened by your antics.

Peace and blessings,

What is your initial take on the above exchange? Any thoughts as to what they could be talking about? The exchange came from the pages of Ted Dekker's Black: A Graphic Novel (2007). The graphic is one third of the circle trilogy (the other two-thirds are the Red and White graphic novels). More info on this graphic novel and the others in the trilogy can be found
  • here.
  • Since Black is part one of three, I'll only give a brief plot summary of part one.

    The story begins with Thomas, a young man who eventually finds out that he is alive in two different worlds. One world is the present-day world. The other world is a future world where good and evil are more easily identified. Further, the good life (i.e., the "Great Romance" as they call it) is available to anyone as long as they do not eat the forbidden fruit (you probably can see where this is going). He realizes that once he falls asleep, he wakes up in the other world. He is able to carry over his memory of one world to the other world, and soon realizes that these two worlds are connected. Once he realizes that these worlds are connected, and his purpose in negotiating this connection, he tries to convince others, among them is Monica who is featured in the above exchange.

    In the future world, Thomas finds out that his present world (i.e., the "world of the histories" as it's referred to by those in the future world) gets wiped out due to a vaccine that when heated at a particular temperature over a certain amount of time, turns into a deadly virus. Once Thomas finds out from the future world that Dr. Monica De Raison is the person who creates the vaccine (unaware of it's potential to become a deadly virus), he goes back to his present world to warn her. The above exchange is his attempt to convince her that (1) he is simultaneously living to two worlds (2) these worlds are connected and (2) her vaccine will turn into a virus that will destroy the planet. Piece of cake right, lol?

    The above exchange is my favorite part of this graphic novel, although the trilogy itself is one of the best comics/graphic novels I've read period. I like this exchange because in my opinion the "world is going to be destroyed if you don't listen to me" context can easily be replaced by another context: talking to a non-believer or someone who is just "not feeling God right now." Recently, I've realized that when I invite people to church and even at times when I share my faith with others, I do so without thinking about their past experiences with God, Christianity, another religion, or no religion. In other words, I realize that I at times I do not stop and think about how my offer to visit my church or the information I share with them regarding my faith in Christ is being perceived and processed from their perspective. Am I trying to share my faith without first understanding where the other person is coming from?

    Sometimes I feel like my exchanges with others can sound like the above exchange between Thomas and Monica. Moreover, I would go as far as to say that an important reason why we as Christians sometimes fail to bring people to Christ has less to do with what we say and more to do with the perspective from which we say it. Although what Thomas told her was the truth, Monica wanted to hear the truth on her level, not Thomas's. She wanted Thomas to relate to her as a human being, not simply as someone who needs to be convinced of the truth. I know that our own testimony is powerful and we need to use our personal experiences to reveal Christ to others. However, I think our personal testimony will be more effective if it is coordinated with the perspective of the person with whom we are sharing it with. I think Jesus' ministry was full of instances where he shared the good news with them in a way that took their thoughts, concerns, fears, emotions, and needs into account. As we are put in situations where God wants us to share the good news with others, I pray that we first learn about others' thoughts, feelings, concerns, and experiences pertaining to the truth before we try to convince them of the truth. Engaging in the difficult process of the former will better equip us to produce more fruit once we engage in the latter.

    What do you think? Can u recall any times when you tried to tell someone some valuable info you thought they needed to hear, but it fell on deaf ears because you did not take their perspective into account? How important do you think it is to consider others' perspectives when providing them with information you believe they need to hear? Take care, stay blessed, and speekonit...

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