26 Sep 2019 · 28 Sep 2019
For centuries, European Christianity has been shaped by a strong, over-arching cultural norm: reading! Believers are encouraged to read the Bible and Christian books while ministers form their preaching and service by studying commentaries and works of theology. In fact, the impact of the printed page is more significant than most of us imagine; literacy shapes the very way we process our thoughts and determines how we communicate.
However, across Europe, there are a growing number of communities who use very different forms of communication. Alongside indigenous populations who have always had an oral culture, there are diaspora groups for whom a writing-based culture is not the norm. There is also a growing group of secondary oral communicators—people whose communications are often screen-based and whose thoughts are not shaped by longer texts.
If we want to see Christ take root in these cultures and for his church to grow and thrive, we will need to learn how to communicate with people who think very differently. This is not simply a case of adopting a new fashionable communication technique, but of learning to orientate ourselves to a different way of thinking altogether.
The 2019 European Orality Consultation ‘Back to Orality: Embodying Jesus in post-textual Europe’, held from 26-28 September in Oxford (UK), sought to draw academics, church leaders, and people from the mission community to learn how to embody the love and message of Christ in primarily oral communities. Alongside presentations from experts in the field, there was ample time for discussion, questions, and sharing experiences.
Europe is increasingly a post-textual society and we need to learn together how to bear witness to Christ in this changing world.
To learn more, visit http://orality.net/oxford-2019.