Wilson Included in Two North Texas Media Outlets

The North Texas e-News included a story on Pastor Woody Wilson earlier this week. You can check it out here!

Also, Dr. Wilson wrote a column for the McKinney Courier-Gazette that ran last weekend. At this time, the article is not available on the newspaper's website, but you can read the content below.

Learning New Language in Our Melting Pot
By Woody Wilson

Language is an uncertain term these days. A generation ago, language referred to a course in school, either Language Arts with its endless repetition of rules of grammar and sentence structure or a foreign language, such as Spanish, French, or German. Today, schools still offer courses in other languages, Language Arts still encompasses reading and grammar, but many schools, of necessity, now offer bi-lingual and English as a Second Language programs.

The state of affairs within our own English language has many concerned. Does anyone speak or write correctly? Subject and verb agreement seems a relic of the past. Search email and text messages. Who capitalizes or punctuates these days? Why write out a sentence if abbreviations get the message across? OMG! R U kidding me?

This phrase from the last paragraph, “our own English language,” underscores the problem we face today. Whose English do we speak? We don’t speak the King’s English any longer. Some today don’t speak English at all. The debate rages. Should English be the official language of Texas or California or of America for that matter? Collin County here in North Texas is changing. The County web site (http://www.co.collin.tx.us/business/numbers.jsp) declares that native born Texans now compose only about 45% of the population. Consider these facts cited by county officials:
· One in five county residents will be foreign born in the near future, from slightly more than 17 percent in 2006
· About four out of 10 of those foreign born are naturalized U.S. citizens
· A language other than English is spoken in almost one in four homes here, representing almost 150,000 county residents

Communication problems abound, but these difficulties can be turned to wonderfully enriching opportunities. I have a friend from Slovenia (part of what used to be Yugoslavia). His English is not perfect, but that has not deterred a great friendship from developing.

I lived in France for five years. While there, English was always and will always be my heart language. Even though French is considered one of the most romantic languages, when I walked hand-in-hand with my wife down the Champs-Elysées or along the Seine River, I spoke English to her not the French that we were both learning. People will always have the right to speak their heart language, no matter where they are.

Some today seem to want to require that people abandon their heart language for their new adopted language. People grow irritated in convenience stores because no one is speaking English. We wonder why signs in stores and on billboards should be bi-lingual. We want everyone to speak our language.

My elementary school schedule included a course in Social Studies as well as Language Arts. There I learned about America being a “melting-pot.” Our port cities have long welcomed immigrants from distant lands, bringing their language and cultural differences with them. This has created a very diverse land, rich in regional variations of dialect, accent, and cultural expression. Americans have embraced these variations with grace and understanding—until recently. Today, it just seems like many are angry, thinking, if not articulating their thoughts, “Why can’t everyone just be like me?”

The bottom line is communication. We are frustrated when communication breaks down. I sympathize with those English-as-a-Second-Language people who are new to America as they try to construct sentences that make sense. I have been there. I have been laughed at and scorned as I butchered the French language. One woman was so upset with me she hollered at me in the street telling me to go back to America. I have also been helped and encouraged by those who embraced my desire to speak their language. These informal coaches helped me become fluent in their language.

My question is this: Where are the language coaches/mentors that our English-challenged neighbors need? My answer is simple: Become both a language learner and a language helper. Do you have a neighbor, friend, or work colleague whose heart language is other than English? Strike an agreement with them. Let them teach you some of their language and culture and, in turn, help them with yours. Only as we learn the language of a person’s heart, can we truly begin to communicate. Let us whose heart language is English cross the cultural divide toward our non-English speaking neighbors. Let us build bridges of communication to language-challenged people.

Woody D. Wilson is a native Texan, resident of McKinney, and pastor of the Waddill Street Baptist Church. His first book, The Shadow of Babel, recently released by CrossHouse Publishing, addresses issues of communication and the challenges of language. It is available at www.hannibalbooks.com.


Fort Worth Star Discusses Biblical Church

Jim Jones with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram wrote an excellent article discussing Dr. Bob Pearle's new book, The Vanishing Church. Mr. Jones included comments from other notable authors and pastors, including Wade Clark Roof, Elaine Heath, and Ed Young. Be sure to take a look at the article on the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's website here.


Pastor Urges Christians to Find Their Voice

In a world where millions of souls daily are condemned to a Christless eternity, Christians should not hesitate to tell others about Jesus. However, fear and lack of compassion can easily creep in to hold Christians back. In his new book, The Shadow of Babel: Speaking Jesus to a Language-Challenged World, Woody D. Wilson relies on his rich experiences as a personal witness, a missionary in the challenging setting of France and a faithful pastor, to show how believers can spread the salvation story simply by learning to use their voices for the Lord.

The book looks at numerous experiences from Wilson’s rich life as a missionary in a challenging setting in France and as a U.S. pastor in everyday circumstances. The Shadow of Babel discusses the importance of talking about one’s beliefs, how to speak with one’s heart, why listening is the key to talking, and why “crossing the cultural divide” can be difficult. Despite the difficulties in communicating understandably in a world of diverse languages and cultures – the “shadow” of Babel that the title references – Wilson explains how we can bridge language and cultural barriers.

Each chapter centers around Bible verses and Wilson’s own stories to draw in the reader and equip the reader to examine his or her own challenges of talking about faith. At the end of each chapter, Wilson includes three practical helps that are designed to engage the reader in introspective thought and Bible study. Through these questions, Wilson desires each reader to be encouraged to share his or her own faith story. “We can’t keep it to ourselves any longer”, explains Wilson in the book.

In an endorsement of The Shadow of Babel, Dr. Preston L. Nix, director of the Leavell Center for Evangelism and Church Health with the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, says, “Through the lens of his experience of learning a foreign language to communicate the Gospel cross-culturally, Wilson challenges his readers to ‘find their voice’ to clearly communicate the Good News of salvation to this present generation. With amusing anecdotes and inspiring illustrations, Wilson highlights biblical principles for communicating Christ to a lost and confused culture.”

Woody D. Wilson is the senior pastor at Waddill Street Baptist Church in McKinney, TX, where he lives with his wife, Judy. He and Judy have four grown children and two grandchildren. Wilson received his M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and his D.Min. from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and Judy were missionaries to France with the International Mission Board and church planters in Texas and Illinois.