We recently went on our first family holiday abroad – to France.
France has lovely weather, beautiful countryside, delicious food…and a language that I don’t understand.
I never did French at school, so I used up pretty much my entire vocabulary by the time we’d shown our passports.
Swapping between languages can be fun (like listening to French songs written in English – the music’s fine but the words are appalling!) and very frustrating.
Interpretation is clearly a skill, and it’s something that’s very relevant to the modern world. The Middle East has been dreadfully affected over the last few years by an interpretation of Islam that is entirely different from the interpretations practiced by my Muslim friends. The same could be said of those who interpreted Christianity in such a way as to justify the Crusades or the Spanish Inquisition, or those who interpreted atheism in such a way as to justify persecuting the Jews under Nazi Germany or the Chinese under Chairman Mao.
Please don’t interpret that to mean that I’m criticising Islam, Christianity or atheism – I’m not. The point I’m making is that the way we interpret something can be as important as the thing itself. The desperately horrifying actions of so-called Islamic State would be no less horrifying if Islam were true.
In all these challenges, surely the best thought we can take away is that understanding one another better is categorically a Good Thing.
So I wonder if I could invite you out for dinner, to do exactly that. I’m doing something called Alpha, where I’d love to share a bit about what Christianity means for me, and I’d love to hear what your faith means for you.
Sign up here, and we can interpret life together.
You can find out more about Alpha here.