It is a common occurrence to assign the cause of arguments, disputes, conflicts, and friction to a lack of communications. On both global and interpersonal levels this seems quite frequent. Lack of communications may indeed be the cause of misunderstandings. But what might be the cause of a lack of communications?
We extend much of our personal world to larger worlds outside of ourselves and extrapolate from the personal to the general. I am doing just that here when I say I think the cause of a lack of communications is some missing common-denominator that lubricates the ability to communicate. Some common ground or common interest, I find, like a shoehorn helps us slide into otherwise tight dialogue. I find this true even between family members (maybe especially so) because so much is known and has already been talked about between those who are closest to one another .
In conversation the common-denominator is not an end in itself but a means to further communication. Cases in point: I have an older brother with whom it has always been difficult for me to talk. We argue, squabble, and holler quite often but when we talk about music the door to amiable conversation flies open and further communication becomes possible. I have a son with whom I enjoy smoking a cigar. This common-denominator has opened the door to further conversations where nothing else has worked quite so well.. Grandchildren too have now become a common-denominator. Yet it is strangely true that the commonest of all denominators is the one we are most skittish about using – You!
I really believe that there is a deep and well-grounded desire in each of us to talk about God with others. I know it’s in me, and the way I skirt it is by writing. But writing is like a one-sided conversation that is shared with paper. What is really yearned for is face-to-face talk. Yet face-to-face we are very careful about talking about God. For me it is quite true that I wish to converse frequently with my wife and children about God. But there are, among other things, fears of appearing “holier-than-thou,” of eliciting rebellious reactions, or of being patronized. Hence, a common-denominator can, at times, help us slide into the conversations we desire. Thus we can search for that entity in each individual before we start talking about You. This search, of course, is unnecessary in writing.