The Unwritten Word: Learning from High Orality-Reliant Cultures (Charles Madinger)

Western culture relies extensively on written text to communicate. But the majority of people across the world rely far less on reading than they do on speech, body language, story, images, and their other senses. Charles Madinger joins the podcast this week to explore the concept of orality—the multifaceted way in which people were created to communicate. Though well-meaning pastors and missionaries may rely on three-point sermons and Bible translation projects, these efforts often miss the variety of ways that the active, living Word of God engages people’s bodies and minds, in communities. Charles also examines Jesus’ parables and the many ways God interacts with his people throughout Scripture, how McDonald’s might do a better job communicating than most pastors, and whether Gen Z is escaping the low orality-reliance of Western culture.

Dr. Charles Madinger is the Founder and Director of the Institutes for Orality Strategies, a collective of organizations committed to evangelizing to oral communicators. In addition to his scholarly publications in the field of orality, he has worked in global ministry for thirty years. He also serves the 4.2.20 Foundation as the Vice President of the Center for Oral Scriptures.

Show notes:

  • 0:00 Inner and outer speech
  • 5:00 How do we best communicate?
  • 7:39 Memory and multi-sensory communication
  • 13:55 High versus low orality-reliance
  • 16:40 Abstract versus concrete
  • 23:00 Communication in the Bible
  • 27:52 Carrying the Word of God in our bodies
  • 30:29 The Western mind
  • 36:03 The Gutenberg parenthesis
  • 39:00 Teaching like Jesus taught

Show notes by Micah Long

Image created by Rubner Durais

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