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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

International



I sit in the midst of a group of church leaders from around the world. Ironically, for the first time, these leaders are gathered in the heart of the United States of America but with almost no American presence. (U. S. church leaders have gathered separately.) African nations, Asian, Eastern and Western European, Canadian, Australian, Central and South American, French Polynesian; all have gathered in response to the call and invitation to gather and confer together.

We talk and listen, sing and pray in many languages; Tahitian, Philipian, Hindi, French, Spanish, and English. Translation is very important.The First Presidency asks many questions. They listen, make note of the questions for later reflection and attempts to find answers. What will the contents of Doctrine and Covenants 164 mean for the church? How do we interpret the new understandings on Baptism? How quickly can we move on confirmation of those baptized into Christ by other ministers? Will National, Field, or Cultural Area conferences be able to establish policy for their area?

The list of questions goes on.What does it mean to be an international church? We probably do not entirely know yet, but I suspect we are now beginning to find out. It goes far beyond appreciating the singing of the Tahitian choir, or the costumes of the Africans or the Indians. It means understanding that questions that seem important to us may have no significance or relevance for others. At the same time, issues that we have not even thought of within our cultural context are serious matters in other places.

As I participate in these meetings, I often think of one of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The principle in question is, “Seek first to Understand, then to be Understood!” In an International setting, that means we must spend a lot more time listening than talking.

It is a wonderful practice.

Posted by Carman

1 comment:

  1. One of the amazing lessons I've begun to learn from my World Religions experiences!
    Too often we think we need to witness and testify and learn how to be expert in convincing others to think our way. And yet, if/when we are open in visiting with Hindus or Sikhs or Wiccans, with no intent at all to change them, we realize that we are still blessed and can love people who are radically different.

    I remember the "tipping point" when I stopped being amazed at how "alike" we humans are, and realizing how much I can grow because of the "differences" I now acknowledge. I also realize just what a long and hard learning journey that was. Maybe we are starting down that road as a Community.

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