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Stephen Seitz February 24, 2014 Senior Seminar- Chase Ethical Credo of Communication Communication surrounds our everyday

life from the moment we wake up next to our roommate or significant other to the moment we shut our eyes praying relentlessly to God. Even from the beginning of our lives, parents stress the significance of their childrens first words. At the other end of the spectrum, as one approaches their final hour, the loved ones around them dwell on the last words they speak to the soon to be deceased. When two or more communicate, right and wrong communication differs from one person to the other in society. I believe that ethical communications end goal, although nearly impossible in a fallen world, is to demonstrate Christs example as the perfect communicator by showing compassion in crafting messages, humility in conversations with disagreements, and authenticity by promoting peace through the evangelization of Christs redemptive work. In order to begin to discuss how one personally communicates in an ethical manner, we need to define how one physically communicates in a digital world. I believe that ethical communication begins with communicating to one another face to face. If not possible, we use the means of digital communication to reach those outside of our personal interactions. In Schuchardts analysis in the chapter titled Social Media and the Loss of Embodied Communication, he discusses the importance of being in but not of the virtual world. Being in-but not of--the virtual word is, at the most basic level, the difference between life and death (243). This necessary distinction between being in--but not of shows the importance that technology plays in our communication. The availability and accessibility of technology as communicators controls us. It forms the way in which we interact and talk with those around us. It is easy to be complacent with the technology we have and communicate solely through those channels when in actuality; we need to use those channels as supplementary ways of

communicating. We need to use technology when we cannot speak or connect with certain people through a face-to-face interaction. The Bible only records Jesus writing one time in His life but He speaks audibly in almost every other parable and lesson taught to those around Him. As Jesus communicates audibly primarily, I firmly believe there is significance in the fact that God spoke the world into existence. We see through the Bible how He uses his audible voice to speak with His chosen people. As communicators, we should mimic this audible way of communicating primarily. In no way do I believe that communicators should not interact through digital channels but only if necessary. It would be ignorant on our part to ignore a way to communicate with others when technology allows us to interact with them. I do think that as communicators we should attempt to connect and interact with others face-to-face primarily and utilize the use of technology to stay in communication if the former is not possible. Whether through face-to-face interactions or through computer-mediated communications, we tend to express ourselves with our emotions and let our feelings go without any inhibitions because society tells communicators to be who they are. On the contrary, I believe we should communicate to others in a way that is both consciousness of our past as well as communicate based on who we are supposed to be in the future. The pressure we face in communicating with others is to be who we are now and act accordingly. Authenticity in communication tends to carry with it discussions of honesty, truthfulness, vulnerability, and genuinely. These are inherently ethical forms of communicating but I believe we should not strive to attain these characteristics in communicating as the end goal. The hope of doubling the self always misses the autonomy of the other. Authenticity can be a profoundly selfish ideal (Peters 266). Peters says by being authentic, we as communicators try to force, whether aware of it or not, our thoughts and ideas on to the person causing them to act similar to you. This occurs

when we act based on our feelings without thinking of anyone besides ourselves. Dont be afraid of what comes naturally but do subject it to the same critical scrutiny that you would anything else--or anything done by anyone else (Wright 56). N.T. Wright discusses the importance of Christian character in being careful of what emotions come natural because sometimes these feelings perpetuate this state of acting in who you are which can be a form of unethical communication. Instead, we as humans, specifically Christians, believe that through our faith God calls us to be and do something extraordinary. I praise you for I am wonderfully and fearfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well (The New International Version Ps. 139.14). God designed us to be someone wonderfully and fearfully made with a purpose. Our emotions from our mistaken authenticity around others causes us to feel that we should act based on how we feel in the present. In actuality, God calls us to collaborate with Him and discover what we want to have, where we want to be, and who He wants us to be for eternity and to live according to that future identity. It is a constantly changing process. Through this tedious process of discovering ones designed purpose, we can be firm in who God calls us to be. Once we learn this and act accordingly, our emotions no longer drive and control us but instead we communicate efficiently in that newfound identity. By being authentic in Gods purpose for our lives, we can communicate not on trying to have our actions reflect who we are in this moment but instead use our future identity to reflect how we feel in the present. After discovering how to communicate based on whom I want to be, this allows a communicator to act on that aspiration, but also grants us a comfort in our identity while communicating with another. Being aware of our identity frees communicators to listen. I believe communication entails an active listening to the counterpart speaking. According to

Genderlect Theory by Tannen, masculine and feminine speaking styles are intrinsically different. Masculine speaking styles tend to focus on status while feminine speaking styles emphasize connection. As communicators, specifically those with masculine speaking styles, we formulate our response while listening to the other person speaking. We constantly try to one up or prove our worth to the person speaking when ethically communicating calls us to not to express our own thoughts but instead build relationships with others through active listening. When I communicate, I need to have a lingering attention and care to their thoughts instead of formulating my own response before they even finish speaking. An ethical communicator and therefore an ethical listener should cling to the verse found in James. My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (James 1.19) Society tends to reverse this popular quoted scripture verse. They say, Be quick to speak and slow to listen. Jesus listened to others who in society were not worthy to listen to but did so with open ears by showing them He cared. This is the greatest example of how we should actively listen as a part of ethically communication. Therefore, actively listening to others in conversations provides a better understanding for their thoughts and arguments but very often, conflicts arise in differing opinions. Ethical communicators strive to approach conversations of dispute with humility and respect for the opposing viewpoint and the person carrying that viewpoint. Living in an individualistic world, we often feel the need to defend our idea as if it is a competition. In a similar manner, we cling to sports teams and identify ourselves with those sports teams. The reason we do this, my friend said, is to associate ourselves with winning and dissociate ourselves from losing (Miller 111). Even in arguments, we tend to associate ourselves with the winning argument during

conversations and it becomes all about winning and losing. By starting in a position of humility before entering arguments, we need to realize that people will have more profound and a greater depth of knowledge than we do. We need to accept this possibility in order to promote peace in these conflicts. In order to communicate efficiently cross culturally with different origins of beliefs, we must appreciate and be open to the mutual agreement of persuasion. Communicating in a way to persuade the other is pointless if we are not open to their ideas. Their ideas may have tremendous insight. Although we do not need to accept those beliefs as truth, to discredit the other side is useless and disrespectful. As ethical communicators, we need to respect diversity of opinions by listening to their viewpoints. We should persuade as communicators but not let our stubbornness make our viewpoint immovable because as we persuade others with different viewpoints, they simultaneously attempt to persuade us. To close our minds off to the possibility of hearing their viewpoints is unethical and will only create hostility between communicators. Ultimately, these previous facets of ethical communication all lead to this final point. As a follower of Jesus Christ, we should communicate at all times by a form of evangelizing. I believe that ethical communication involves the knowledge of when to be tactful in evangelizing. We need to be aware of when to be silent, vocal, explicit, and implicit while remaining cognizant of the situation. Hauerwas describes this by saying, Put differently, the most important part of writing and speaking Christian is what is not said (88). We do not need to say the right thing but sometimes not saying anything is the best plausible option. By being silent, we proclaim the message of the gospel. It is not about whether you win the argument or conversation but God will have the final say in how things pan out. We should construct our messages to cater to the needs of the specific person and specific situation we find ourselves. Constructivism, a

communication theory by Jesse Delia relies heavily on this idea of person-centered messages. These are tailor-made messages for a specific individual and context; reflects the communicators ability to anticipate response and adjust accordingly (Griffin 101). In no way should a communicator construct the same message in evangelizing to a fifty-year old man, as they would with a teenage girl. Although the messages may not be perfect, ethical communicators need to mold each message to their appropriate audience. As well as creating these person-centered messages, ethical communicators need to evangelize by living a life reflective of the truth of Jesus Christ while leaving the Holy Spirit room to do work with those around us. We sometimes believe that the only feasible option we have in evangelizing to someone else is to be blunt with him or her about our faith. One does not need to evangelize solely with their words but we often neglect to realize how powerful our lifestyles as witnesses can be to others around us. I believe that through our non-verbal behavior, we can communicate a life pointing to Jesus Christ just as efficiently as with the words we speak. Overall, when evangelizing, ethical communicators should live our life as someone whom God knows and loves instead of someone who knows all the right answers. I believe ethical communication consists of several facets such as authenticity in acting according to who you want to be instead of who you are. It also includes participating in active listening, which will enhance mutual understanding in conversations. I believe as communicators, we need to evangelize the truth of Jesus Christ by approaching the conversation with humility and respect to the other communicator. Although I believe ethical communication contains these aspects of interacting, the one similarity they all have in common is that we should imitate Jesus Christ in His communication. No one communicated like Jesus did in His lifetime and I believe that the principles in which I explained were the crux of Jesus ethical

communication. All in all, the most ethical way we communicate is to point to Jesus and the way He communicated.

Work Cited Griffin, Emory A. A First Look at Communication Theory. 8th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2009. Print. Hauerwas, Stanley. Working with Words: On Learning to Speak Christian. Eugene, Or: Cascasde Books, 2011. Print New International Version. [Colorado Springs]: Biblica, 2011. BibleGateway.com. Web. 12 Feb. 2014. Miller, Donald. Adam, Eve, and the Alien. Searching for God Knows What. Nashville: Nelson, 2004. 91-104. Print. Peters, John Durham. "Conclusion: A Squeeze of the Hand." Speaking Into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1999. 263-69. Print. Schuchardt, Read. "Social Media and the Loss of Embodied Communication." Liberal Arts for the Christian Life. Ed. Jeffry C. Davis and Philip Graham Ryken. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012. 241-52. Print. Wright, N. T. "The Transformation of Character." After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters. New York, NY: HarperOne, 2010. 48-71. Print.