By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning
Communicating Jesus’ Way by Charles H. Kraft is a revision of the 1979 edition by the same title and is Kraft’s third book on communication. The book presents basic thoughts on communication theory and relates them to the specific context of Christian teaching and preaching. The book is short (seven brief chapters and a one page bibliography) and the content is straightforward and presented in outline form.
While the content can only be considered “basic,” it is the type of information that is worth repeating, and being reminded of often. As such the book proves to be a valuable resource of essential communication theory for pastors, students, and teachers. At the heart of Kraft’s message of communication in the Christian context is the relational nature of communication. This view is informed by the incarnational nature of God’s communication to the world through Jesus Christ. As the title of the book suggests, Kraft then explores connected implications of the ways of communication used by Jesus.
After presenting an incarnational emphasis to understanding the nature of communication, the book addresses communication from a practical information-processing view. But the strength of the book is found in Kraft’s treatment of the process of communication and meaning-making. Here he goes beyond most treatments of information-processing models of communication and addresses the relationship between language, culture, and the individual’s process of meaning-making. He concludes this section with a list of specific implications for Christian communication. Though the treatment of these implications is brief, it provides a most significant challenge to thinking about communication and the Christian faith. By way of summarizing the book, Kraft concludes with a new chapter on communication “myths.”
Israel Galindo is Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning at the Columbia Theological Seminary. Formerly, he was Dean at the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. He is the author of the bestseller, The Hidden Lives of Congregations (Alban), Perspectives on Congregational Leadership (Educational Consultants), and A Family Genogram Workbook (Educational Consultants), with Elaine Boomer and Don Reagan.
His books on Christian education include The Craft of Christian Teaching (Judson), How to be the Best Christian Study Group Leader (Judson), Planning for Christian Education Formation (Chalice), and A Christian Educator’s Book of Lists (S&H).
Galindo contributes to the Wabash Center’s blog for theological school deans