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  • Writer's pictureStephie

Thoughts on Communication (pt. 1)

I spent two days watching the Renée Brown HBO series the covers the topic of her latest book, "Atlas of the Heart." This morning I stumbled across a sermon by Erwin McManus, one of my favorite preachers, and the sermon covers the power of words. I couldn’t help to find a very strong connection between this sermon and the in-depth study that Renee Brown has done.

First to point out a few things that Erwin McManus touched on in regards to our connection, not only to God, but to each other in community and words. In the sermon he explains that the origin of the word, "communication" comes from the same root as the word which "community" comes from.

He also states that both of those words come from the same word as communion. He goes on to explain how before the fall of man he has a theory that there was actually no need for spoken word. He makes a point that before the fall of humans we were so interconnected with God with each other, and with all living things that words were not needed. Erwin goes on to say that before the fall of man, the connection in which Eve and Adam had with God, allowed for there to be a deep connection that did not need spoken word; he likened it to the connection of a mother and a child in the womb. He then states that after the fall of man, the nakedness that Adam and Eve experience, as we all know, extends beyond the physical embarrassment and the shame that they felt. It was a nakedness and vulnerability of thoughts and communication and connection. He made the parallel between the widely known or, experienced nightmare where we show up to school, work, anywhere, naked, and the shame or embarrassment and terror. Erin suggest that if we were to be given the choice for people to see us, exposed nakedly, physical, physically, naked, or mentally, or thoughts to be physically or mentally naked in front of people, whether it’s family, friends, coworkers, bosses, etc., which would we choose. It is safe to say that most people would choose to be physically naked and exposed, out of fear of the people around them being able to know or hear what they’re thinking.

Taking a look at the book, and the HBO series, explores the research done by Brené Brown and her team to understand and correcting the vocabulary we use to express emotions. One example that she went over in her series as well as the book, is understanding that we, as a society, miss-use the words, envy and jealousy. Brené explains that jealousy relates to relationships-- platonic, familial, romantic, etc.--while envy refers to what we we have come to understand as "jealousy." She explains that jealousy refers to relationship and fear of losing said relationships, well envy can be something that we may be jealous about and again I’m using jealous, because that is the term we are used to using for this concept,. For example, if a coworker goes to the Bahamas, I would actually be envious, and not jealous. But our society has put such a stigma on the word envy we choose not to use it, only if it is an extremely strong case of jealousy.

Now, what connection could I have possibly made between this sermon which I highly recommend you watching, and even if you are an atheist, to "Atlas of the Heart" by Brené Brown?

(Again, I highly recommend watching the special and listening, or reading the book Atlas of the heart.) So, here is where I connect the two. Brené Brown, and her team have done extensive research to understand, clarify, create the correct vocabulary to be able to express our emotions as humans . This would then give us the ability to better live in community with each other. I feel that the disconnect between humans, stems from the statement and teaching of Erwin McManus, whether we take his theory about the lack of spoken word before the fall of man to heart, or we just think about the generalized deep connection, that humans felt with God before the fall of man, we can see where, the disconnect with our creator, can create an even wider disconnect with understanding each other.

I would love to hear more thoughts on any other connections anyone has made after reading/watching Atlas of The Heart and the sermon!!

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