The past few days have been a challenge as we’ve suffered through the after effects of some bad lasagna. We think it was the sauce, which probably had been in the fridge too long. Today is the second since Wednesday when no one has been sick.
The upside of food borne illness is that the path to recovery involves popsicles. They are a great source of fluids, are easy to digest, and you can’t eat them to quick and overload a sensitive stomach. It was much to Wesley’s delight that we encouraged him to eat popsicles.
Medicine is a strange thing in its potential to heal and harm us. I’m thinking about Wesley extrapolating from this one experience and thinking popsicles are always good for you. I’m thinking about morphine, which can free you from terrible pain and enslave you in addiction. There is also the patient who adversely reacts to morphine and experiences greater pain through this “pain reliever.” Here’s a quote from Gregory the Great, a patriarch of Rome from the 5th Century, talking about communication and giving the right “medicine”
…one and the same exhortation does not suit all, inasmuch as all are not bound together by similarity of character. For the things that profit some often hurt others; seeing that also, for the most part, herbs which nourish some animals are fatal to others; and the gentle hissing that quiets horses incites whelps; and the medicine which abates one disease aggravates another; and the food which invigorates the life of the strong kills little children. Therefore, according to the quality of the hearers ought the discourse of teachers to be fashioned, so as to suit all and each for their several needs, and yet never deviate from the art of common edification. For what are the intent minds of hearers but, so to speak, a kind of harp, which the skillful player, in order to produce a tune possessing harmony, strikes in various ways? And for this reason the strings render back a melodious sound, because they are struck indeed with one quill, but not with one kind of stroke. Whence every teacher also, that he may edify all in the one virtue of charity, ought to touch the hearts of his hearers out of one doctrine, but not with one and the same exhortation. -from Pastoral Rule
As I’ve been thinking about communication and the varying needs of different people I see the difficulty of caring for a wide range of individuals. I want to grow in my ability to lovingly speak the truth to a variety of people. How do I get there? Here are some thoughts…
-diverse friendship: there is no substitute for listening and engaging face to face
-reading and listening widely: music, magazines, books
-thinking through delivery: it’s easy to spend too much time working on the content of what I’ll say without giving sufficient attention to the way I’ll say it and how that will help or hinder people
-movies: watching good movies helps me understand people better and with the incredible diversity that exists in music, watching a broad range of movies is easier to do than to listen to a broad range of music.
-prayer: asking God to help me see the world through the eyes of others and better serve them
-attention to the text: the bible has spoken to people from innumerable cultures and if I read in light of the above behaviors there is much I’ll be able to draw on.