Friday, May 06, 2005

What I Learned from HT:

I've learned a valuable lesson about cross-cultural communication from my brief experience in the world of blogging.  It's a lesson I hope will make me more sensitive to and patient with non-Christians and new believers with whom I share biblical truth.

Blogdom was such an overwhelming environment.  I was an outsider, an alien.  There was so much I didn't understand and I wondered if I ever would.  Actually, I still feel that way.  I have much to learn.  One of the things that puzzled me was the meaning of two letters, "HT," I kept seeing at the end of posts.  Sometimes they were in parentheses, sometimes in brackets.  Always, they were followed by a colon and a link to another site.  This was evidently an abbreviation for something - but what?  I quickly exhausted my creativity trying to guess what this might mean. One day, it dawned upon me to inquire of the oracle of Google and my search was over!  I eventually found out that "HT" stands for "hat tip" and is a way of acknowledging another blog through which you became aware of another site about which you're posting.  (If that is helpful to just one uninitiated blog reader then my suffering was not in vain.)

I've frequently opined about how important it is that we not resort to Christian lingo when talking with those to whom we're trying to explain the faith, assuming that they will understand what to us is now so obvious.  My relatively trivial quandary about the meaning of two letters brought that point home to me in a personal way.  I had entered a community, a culture, if you will, that had an unfamiliar way of communicating; one that I needed to have translated.

I get frustrated sometimes trying to answer my own kids' questions about God. For some strange reason, terms like "hypostatic union," "essence," and "nature" don't play well with them. My impatience is borne out of having to leave that which has become comfortable and familiar to me in order to help another understand.  My frustration, at times, is also the result of the unsettling question of how well I really understand something if I can't explain it without the use of certain catch phrases or shorthand.  I think that's a question we need to ask ourselves and each other frequently.

Whenever I tip my hat in future posts or see someone else tipping theirs, I hope to be reminded of this important lesson.


Dennis said...

Excellent reminder! Entering another 'culture' has that learning curve thingy all a blaze. Watching my nieces on their IM was an eye opener. POS = parent over shoulder. In any case, I appreciate discussion of hypostatic union. Peace...ttyl

Joseph said...

Ooooh, so that's what HT means! :) Thanks for the info.I've been wondering about that for a while now. And thanks for the reminder to watch my Christian lingo around others. Blessings.

Mara's Child said...

I was just searching Google to try and find out what on Earth HT means and stumbled across this blog. Not only do I find a definition of HT, but an important reminder to go along with it! Thanks!

Stupid Sheep said...

Ditto Mara's Child. I was googling to find out what HT meant instead of asking the person who used it. I got tired of not knowing! Good words too. Good idea to teach people new words to, so they don't feel like outsiders. Welcome and initiate people with new lingo.