“Normal” speech is determined by our families and local communities. Our assumptions about verbal communication are challenged and expanded when we enter new environments – this is especially true of our educational journeys.  In college and seminary, we gain a new theological lexicon and are faced with the challenge of communicating the gospel “down home” and “on the block” to those who don’t share the same theological vocabulary. How we talk is not something people think much about growing up due to the reality that what is understood as normal speech is determined by your family and local community that usually share a similar background. The normalcy of the way we talk is then affirmed or challenged as we venture into different contexts with people who don’t share a similar background. This can come along with certain pressures that raise questions about your own speech. “Should I change how I speak to fit in?” “Is how I speak wrong or less educated?” “Is how I speak a hindrance to relationships?” Questions like this arise out of any situation where people are intermingling across lines of difference.

“Language and Identity: The Pressure of Switching Dialects” is an event that explores the challenge of contextualizing language and its implications for communication in ministry, theological dialogue, and missional engagement. This event will be held on Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s campus March 20th, 2018