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Finding the language

The language we use to communicate with each other is more than just the spoken word, it has its roots in a connection of mind, heart and soul that comes from life shared among us and within us.  An expression of inter-relationship at a local, universal and cosmic level.

During the past two decades Ireland has become an increasingly diverse country. The 2016 Census indicates that the 535,475 persons living in Ireland originate from 200 different nations.

Cultural diversity makes an enriching contribution to  society.  However, living and ministering in an intercultural society is not without its challenges for both individuals and communities.  Indeed, interculturalism places the responsibility for social harmony into everyone’s hands. It asks that each person do what they can in their capacity to engage positively and proactively with all cultural groups in their   community.

If mission always calls us to cross boundaries then we need to take account of the turn to ‘the intercultural’ in thinking about mission.  This event is of wide relevance to the challenge of parish communities and ministries, and to all who live with diversity in Ireland today.

The NEP has supported this one-day BIAPT event: ‘Intercultural Living As Christian Mission’ in the Emmaus Centre, Swords, Co. Dublin on Thursday 16th May 2019.  To book by Friday 10th May see:  HERE

Languages of Peace

Experts say that there are
between three to six thousand
depending on how one counts
the languages of the world.

The languages of humans
to be more precise.

Plus words and gestures
poses and pauses
voice and noise
layers of meaning behind
underneath and above.

And many more dimensions
variables, categories and types
some hidden some salient
are said to make up culture:
values norms and beliefs
or simply how things are done
plus artifacts and action
tradition, time and space
and how they are perceived and lived
which all are relevant
when cultures or rather
humans interact
in word and deed.

But if one looks a bit more closely
one sees that there are two
two basic types of culture
one of peace and one of violence
one of conflict and one of understanding
one of love and one of hatred
not only as context, situation and moment
may warrant or demand
but in a basic, more elementary way.

And so the linguist steeped in
the social science tradition of our days
may well ask:
If there is a language of violence
what is the language of peace?
If there is a language of death
what is the language of life?
What are the words of a peace-life-language?
Is there just one or are there many?

Vocabulary, grammar, syntax, structure?
Signs and signals of that language, those languages?
In any language that we know?
Or in a language to create
ex novo, ab ovo, so to speak?

Who are the speakers of such a language?
Who her teachers, who her students?
Who her creators, who her developers,
And who those who cannot bear her prosody
nor listen to her words?

by Peter Praxmarer, (University of Lugano, Switzerland Friday, April 4, 2008)


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