Lesser Nighthawk

Nighthawk

This is a picture of a lesser nighthawk. They come into our area in the summer and you can see them flying around the lights on ball fields and parking lots hawking insects at night.

They are strong flyers and a lot of fun to watch, but one of their most interesting traits is their vocalization. They make noises like sound affects in a Sci-Fi movies.

There have been a few nights when the noises coming from the surrounding desert made me want to scan the skies for a flying saucer.

I can picture a group of city dwellers camping in the desert. After nightfall, those sounds begin rising up around them, causing their imaginations to rise up within them. Given the creepiness of the calls and the furtiveness of the human imagination, one could predict a UFO sighting before the night is over.

Only it’s not a UFO, it’s just a nighthawk dashing in and out of the corners of their vision as it grabs insects attracted by the people, the sweet smell of s’mores, and the light of the campfire.

This alien assumption, which is so easily made about the lesser nighthawk, is also rather easily made about believers. We might not want to admit it, but at times we say things that sound completely alien to people who are unfamiliar with our language.

We say we are:

Children of the King,
Justified and sanctified,
Being made perfect, and
Washed in the blood.

Any or all of these terms might mean a great deal to us, but it is only going to help the unbeliever when we slow down enough to tell them what we mean by each phrase. Paul says a great deal about the importance of saying things in a way that can be understood in 1 Corinthians 14. Verse 9 summarizes the responsibility of the speaker in any communication to speak with clarity.

In the same way, unless you use your tongue for intelligible speech, how will what is spoken be known? For you will be speaking into the air.

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Political Communication

Communication is at the heart of all politics. The communication of ideas, the communication of values, and the communication of policies. A good politician will not only be a skilled policy maker, but a great communicator.

But the art of communication is sometimes not just about conveying information. Sometimes it is also about what is purposefully not communicated, or maybe even purposefully miscommunicated. The manipulation of information is at the heart of all bad politics.

Several times lately, I have heard details of three cases where government was purposefully preventing communication. When Gibson Guitars was raided by homeland security, they immediately ordered the plant to shut off all of their surveillance equipment. Another case was when a hospital disagreed with a standing diagnosis of a child by another doctor, they not only succeeded in having the child removed from her parents, but also successfully asked the court to order the parents to break all contact with the family’s priest. Just today, I learned a basketball player who was also a paid social media publicist was in trouble for having tweeted a selfie he took with the president.

In all three cases I don’t see the point in the action taken. If the raid on Gibson Guitars was being done in a lawful way, why prevent the details from being recorded? How was ordering a couple parents to cease contact with a family priest in anyone’s best interest? If the president shows a lack of discretion in who he takes a selfie with, why would anyone expect the other party to take that responsibility for him?

Who controls the flow of information is always critical, and without solid communication there is no accountability. When a society loses the ability to access factual data about their government and its activities, they cannot expect to remain free.