The Idea of an Essay, Volume 4

150 The Idea of an Essay: Volume 4 Knowing the Audience, Understanding the Culture, Pursuing the Lord Aogu Suzuki It is very awkward when a Chinese person comes up to me and says, “Ni hao!” I am Japanese. I would not be able to communicate with him or her because I am not Chinese, and I do not understand the language either. Knowing the audience is very important for anyone who desires to communicate well, and knowing their language is just a part of it. Jennifer Jegerson, a professor at Biola University, comments on this and says that the communicators need to know the audience and their communicational culture (Jegerson, 259). She talks about the communicational cultures and states that there are “literate cultures” and “oral cultures.” A “literate culture” focuses on communicating primarily through reading and writing, and an “oral culture” focuses on communicating through listening, speaking, and memorizing. Jagerson contrasts those two and says, “Oral people groups are not simply those that lack the skills of literacy, they are understood to have their own complex ways of communicating and storing knowledge that are critical and valuable aspects of their culture” (261). Being able to figure out which culture the audience be help a person to be an effective communicator. Communicational cultures have influences on every aspect of people’s lives, and one of them is religion. This essay specifically focuses on Christianity in those two cultures, and contrasts how people become Christians, become more devoted Christians, and start telling others about Christ in different ways. Understanding differences between those two cultures is critical for Christians as they aim to faithfully fulfill the Great Commission, which is in Matthew 28:19-20. In this passage, Jesus says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in he name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Warren