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Language and Neighborliness

I don’t speak Spanish. Neither does Kate. What this means is that we are limited in how well we can communicate with the 25 percent of our neighbors for whom English is not their primary language, and they are limited in how well they can communicate with us. This is a problem. A cynical approach would be to wait for “them” to come to “us,” as if English was sacrosanct and making a political statement was more important than the radical demands and promises of Christian hospitality, not to mention old-fashioned neighborliness. An asset-based approach would say that each group has an asset –a first language–they can share with the other. Given the changing demographics of our neighborhoods, do followers of the Way have a responsibility to learn the primary languages of our neighbors? How can the church facilitate the exchange of assets?

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