Summary of the Texts
In his text, “Fidelity,” Wendell Berry presents the saga of the Port William membership, explaining a small rural farming society in Kentucky through World War II. Comprised of a collection of short stories, Berry tells presents the accounts in straightforward, articulate as well as oral style. In the first story, Berry talks about how murder committed in the summer of the year 1992 has, through pardon and abandonment of retribution, served to interlace two families together in marriage. In another account, Berry (1989) describes the adjustment of a youthful farming couple as they are steadily drawn into a supportive society, which understands them adequately to meet their unarticulated needs. Yet, in another short story, titled ‘Making It Home,’ Berry (1989) describes how a young solder adjusts into the civilian life as he takes the long journey from a bus station to his rural home. In another, he illustrates a young farmer’s rash decision to take his father out of hospital to die in dignity in his home. Therefore, Fidelity takes the reader into the fictional town of Port William, where the traditions of farming, freedom as well as family blend together in a durable wholeness of place. It is here that the young man decides to take his father to his kin to dies, in what turns out to be a mistaken expression of compassion. Berry demonstrates that after the family seeing Burley in a hospital bed and in a life support system, they make a decision to kidnap him and take him to rest in his beloved woods (Berry, 1989).
In his text, “Communicating for Life,” Schultze (1996) provides a holistic Christian perspective of communication; therefore, demonstrating the implications of utilizing it in efforts to work towards justice as well as harmony. Schultze (1996) directs his readers through an intriguing, resourceful, as well as spiritual study of the theory of communication. Thus, founded on the Christian views, Schultze’s (1996) text explores the implications of the human communication and the power of communication to the society. Schultze (1996) examines a number of aspects of the communication field, including the blemished nature of the individual communication, divergent views of human communication, as well as the function of media in the modern society. In particular, Schultze (1996) answers a very poignant question, “What does it imply to think like a Christian regarding human communication?” In Schultze’s (1996) attempt to offer an answer to this question, he describes issues seldom treated in the communication literature, such as the place of grace in human interactions, the nature of human wisdom, the power of human forgiving, the compelling force of peacemaking, the transformative reality of God’s love, and the understanding of good and evil. He connects stewardship with the manner in which human beings speak and listen, how they relate with the word and gesture, what they have to say and hear, either one-on-one or in mass communication within the human society.
Interacting with the Texts
I find Berry (1989) and Schultze’s (1996) texts both interesting and educative. First, Schultze’s (1996) text engaged my mind and invigorated my spirit. In particular, Schultze’s (1996) theory of symbolic action is a grand accomplishment. I have no doubt that Schultze (1996) has set the standard for all work henceforth in the theory of human communication. Schultze’s (1996) text seeks to inform us how, why, when as well as where Christians can share God’s message in our contemporary society. Schultze (1996) particularly brims with specific examples and an analysis of each effort; thereby, making his text very practical and compelling for any Christian.
Schultze (1996) also takes media literacy into a deeper level. Reading his book, I have learnt that media literacy is not just about a technology; rather it fits into a broader context of how people make use of God’s gift of communication. Schultze (1996) is very much in touch with the pulse of the community. In addition, Schultze (1996) is very much aware of the Christian place within the modern society making. I have to admit that Schultze’s (1996) text caught me by surprise somehow. In essence, I really did not understand what I anticipated Schultze to do in his text, but I have found his major theme of living our human communication in peace to be particularly very refreshing and motivating. I can say that Schultze has helped me to understand and notice the general responsibility of communication – that as a strong believer in the word of God, I need to constantly communicate within the context of my community.
I have also been touched by Schultze’s (1996) ability to express that we as humans, are in a regular communication with our cultures; thus, there is a need for us to be aware of all that we communicate in our actions, symbols as well as words. I also learnt that as Christians we need to communicate in shalom in efforts to do justice to many of those that are voiceless, oppressed or powerless. To sum up Schultze’s (1996) text, I now know that I must always speak the truth because am obliged to do so, but in doing this, I must do it from the motive of love for those I communicate with.
Berry’s (1989) text also offered a number of insights that I must acknowledge were interesting and refreshing. Berry’s themes include community, land, fidelity as well as marriage, which bind the human relationships. In fact, fidelity, trust and standing by one’s world also help to cement the human interaction, and therefore, marriage and society. Reaching Berry (1989) text has been informative and awakening to me, because now I know that marriage is the keystone of the human society, and the engine that energizes the human lives. For many of us, the idea of marriage is often the form of our lives, of which, fidelity is regarded as being the cement. I now understand that to break our word would be breaking the form. Berry’s (1989) text informs me that without faithfully keeping my word, there can be no marriage and thus, no society. According to Berry (1989), fidelity through standing by our word, is double fidelity – to one’s self and to the community. Thanks to Berry (1989) for making me understand that it is only in our community that we can attain our end to know and love others, and that with community we are free and members. Another key takehome from Berry’s work is that cooperation is working together, and that if we cannot work together, we cannot have a community.
Berry, W. (1989). Fidelity: Five stories. Place of publication not identified: Random House, Inc.
Schultze, Q. (2000). Communicating for Life: Christian Stewardship in Community and Media. Grand Rapids: Baker Pub. Group.