Encouragement for the Journey 13 March 2016

An inclusive Christian community in Auckland, New Zealand

Encouragement for the Journey 13 March 2016

Encouragement for the Journey

Global Mission

Greetings fellow traveller,

While listening to the National Programme this week, I heard a report on the migrant crisis that is still continuing in Europe, in particular on the Greek and Macedonia border, which has been closed. There was an expectation that during the winter months this exodus from Syria and Iraq would slow down, it has, but still the risk is taken with the people smugglers and over a 1000 people including children a day are arriving on the Greek islands.

Later, that day, I was speaking with my brother who lives in the UK and in the course of our conversation I heard the words ‘they’ and ‘them’ being used in connection with the migrant crisis. My brother offered his opinion and I responded.

For those English Grammar aficionados among us, you will know that both are pronouns, however, ‘they’ is a subject pronoun, and ‘them’ is an object pronoun. In case you may be wondering are we having an English lesson, the answer is no.

Rather I want to suggest that the words ‘they’ and ‘them’ depending on the context, may contain a loaded negative inference.

It is very easy to simply use ‘them’ as a means of objectifying a group or people, likewise, in a similar vein we may use the word ‘ they’ to describe a group or people whom we perceive to be opposed to us or we are in conflict with.

I was intrigued some years ago while reading how hostage negotiators operate; they seek to get the hostage taker to look at the hostages as human beings rather than as an object. This hopefully changes the way they respond, from just a head response to being compassionate.

In our individual and communal lives, there will always be people whom we have a difference of opinion with, or a group we may perceive to be a threat to our way of life. It is important to be aware of the language we use, for it holds a negative or positive energy, which will come through in our attempts at communication.

Meanwhile Peace

Alf