Monday, June 6, 2011

Is it possible to communicate too loudly?

The above building is just one of the handful of structures in Charleston which feature this commanding statement; now, if I had no idea about the Christian idea of being saved from Hell, I might think that these two words mean that Jesus saves money by, who knows, shopping at the Piggly Wiggly, or biking to work instead of driving a vehicle. The truth is that in my 22 years, I've learned that this phrase, "Jesus Saves," communicates the idea that Jesus sacrificed himself in order to save the sinners, and that if I go to church and express my belief in Jesus, I will narrowly escape the heat. 

I don't want to write about the existence of the world beyond, rather about the urge to announce a belief in big, bold lettering. Some people are pretty quickly turned off to this sort of in-your-face announcement, and maybe, just maybe, I was skeptical of such people in the past; I wondered why people like the zealous preachers didn't just live out their beliefs in a non-obtrusive way? On the other hand, I've realized why some people might want to shout-all-about-it; after all, each of us feels the need to share his experience, even when it comes to a small issue, like expressing distaste with a new hamburger joint, or fuming about administration within this institution or another. It's understandable to want to communicate our feelings, but how much is too much? And is one way "more honorable" and/or more effective than another?

I've heard that the best way to lead is to lead by example, but would people notice our intentions more if we fulfilled them, and even talked about them? For example, if we want to get people to start caring about the cleanliness of their neighborhoods, would it be more effective to quietly pick up trash when passing through?, or to actively try to round people up to help them with the endeavor? It is true that sometimes people need a little nudging to actuate changes in their behavior, though these nudges might appear, once again, intrusive.

If we want something badly enough, I think it is necessary to make a little noise, even though this may cause a few to cover their ears. A life led by example is beautiful, meaningful, and nothing to scoff at, but if we want to affect change in others, this strategy may not be the best in doing so swiftly.

1 comment:

Sanaz Arjomand said...

i think about this dilemma all the time. better to just have a farm, or to work for an organization promoting real food (...for example)? i wonder if it's not chronological: you have to be living the way you think is right before you can encourage others to do the same?
enjoying the new posts and pictures!