Bridge-building

A famous bridge

Bridges are built for the sole purpose of connecting together two communities separated by a river, a railway line, a highway, or some other obstacle. We usually talk of bridges in physical terms but our interest here is in the context of communications. Messages that connect people with differing outlook or worldview.

It is interesting to note, too, that bridges are usually two-way.

Some might say that if we simply speak what needs to be known then people will understand, believe and accept it. Others would argue that we need to speak within the context of a trusting relationship. Wilbur Schramm said that two people can only have meaningful conversation within a context that they are both familiar with – their shared experiences.

The Gray Matrix helps us better understand the process of this communication. It separates out the cognitive elements – what we need to know – from the relational elements which describe how we feel.

We could also talk in terms of interfacing – finding a way of linking two entities together. The Gospel remains changeless – and timeless. But for it to make sense in a community – and be accepted joyfully – there has to be a meaningful interface so that it is grounded in practical reality.

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