The more I travel the clearer it is to me that humans do not communicate with as much as we communicate at each other. I don't mean to imply that we don't care if our message is clear. By all accounts we care very much. The most read How To...books are are about the lack of communication in marriage, parenting, friendships, politics, and, whatever your hot button issue happens to be. Not surprisingly mine is the Gospel. Wait for it! I can hear you sputtering now, "Which gospel?" and I appreciate your desire for clarity - hence this blogert (effort to explain by blog).
I just concluded a three week trip to Zimbabwe and, as a result spent hours going through security in airports, government compounds and road blocks. As I left on my trip I began by stripping myself of all metal objects for the screening. Not good enough. Seems the gum wrapper in my back pocket was one of the items to be removed before screening. Setting aside the debate over the potential for mayhem found in sugar free (paper, I might add) gum wrapper, I confess what I heard was, "remove all metal objects" when what was said (yes I hung around for the next announcement) was, "remove all objects..."
Naturally, I did the same thing while being screened in Ethiopia only to find that some objects, whether metal of otherwise, were Ok (eye glasses for instance) and was treated as a "slow" child in the class as I took off my shoes. My defense mechanism was to choose anger. These people must be "bad" screeners because they don't do it "right." They, on the other hand, considered me to be the "bad" screenee." Of course there was truth in both given your ethnicity or nationality. Every effort by both officials to announce clearly the procedures was lost on those for whom the local language and/or dialect was foreign.
Is it any wonder that so many people who enter our churches find themselves uncomfortable because there are so many "assumption possibilities" from where to park to when to stand the closing prayer/reading/greeting. So...don't expect guests (or some infrequent members) to understand what you thought you said in response to the question they didn't actually ask.