Deaf Culture?

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by av1611jim, May 5, 2005.

  1. av1611jim

    av1611jim
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    For our deaf friends.
    I did not know there is a seperate and distinct "culture" in western Christendom called "deaf culture".

    What is it?
    How is it different from the rest of society? (aside from hearing of course)
    Within the churches, how is it any different?
    Is it plagued by the plethora of false teachers as is the "hearing" chruch?

    Perhaps some of our non-hearing friends could elaborate a bit. Educate us! As some here have said, the local churches tend to ignore the deaf, so I would like for that to begin to stop. Hence; this thread.

    I am able to hear. I had a friend once who was deaf. We had a grand time! He teaching me how to communicate with him. Sadly, we were both drug addicts and were seperated when we got busted and he was sent to prison in AZ and I was sent to ID. Lost touch with him. Neat guy, all things considered.

    In HIS service;
    Jim
     
  2. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    Yes Jim, I am grateful for our deaf friends here. I spent several years in the deaf ministry.

    There is indeed a totally separate deaf culture. The deaf do not hear the inuendos or inflections that change the meanings of the words, but there are signs to indicate the same.

    I am looking forward to input. I do know that a communication difficulty can exist. Many deaf sign ASL while others use "signed English." Signed English is what is sounds like - ASL is an entirely different language and it is through the use of ASL that many differences arise.

    Obviously touching is a much more obvious part of deaf culture since you cannot shout to get a person's attention.

    I have found, amongst my work with the deaf, a pleasent openness in many cases. What hearing people often interpret as rudeness is usually just normal deaf expression.

    Part of the challange of a board like this is that most of our deaf friends here type ASL instead of signed English. I commend each one without exception for their ability to communicate so clearly considering that they are using what is in many ways a foreign language.

    If I have mispoken in any regard I trust that my deaf brothers will pardon me. No offence is intended.

    I have been out of the American deaf culture for a long time. When I was last involved the word "deaf" was being replaced by "HH" for hard of hearing. I don't know if that ever took root in American Christian deaf culture, but I know that "HH" is the preferred term here.

    This should be an excellent thread - thank you.
     
  3. TaterTot

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    I used to be an interpreter for the deaf, and there really is a distinct culture. And it is refreshing. I cherish every minute of time spent within the deaf community.
     
  4. Askjo

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    My curiousity kills me. How interpreter were you? Pro? ASL? PSL? Anything you can tell me.
     
  5. Askjo

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    My offer to you is to GO TO DBFA (Deaf Baptist Fellowship of America) Conference in Independence , Missouri on June 27 - July 1, 2005. I will be there.

    Click here: DBFA's link

    You try to find your deaf friend somewhere: click here: Deaf Directory
     
  6. DeafPosttrib

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    I wish, I could attend DBFA this June for DBFA's 25th Anniversary. I cannnot. Because my boss told me no I can't take vacation during that week, because my work will be at peak time because of July 4th period. Lot of people will go to foodtore, shopping during July 4th week between June 25 to July 4th.

    Usaully, DBFA occured follow after Father's Day every year. But, this year is different. DBFA will start one week later AFTER Father's Day.

    Of course, the deaf culture is much different as hearing culture.

    Because if suppose deaf peole to hearing service, listening to an interpreter during sermon time. Hard deaf have hard time to understand what pastor preach talking about. Of course, pastor preaching too fast and preach deeper for deaf to understand.

    Some deaf can understand what pastor preach talking about depend on their level. Most deaf do not understand what pastor saying.

    I am not against interpreter, or deaf people merging with hearing people in the church service. In case, if do not have deaf leader, or deaf pastor, no choice, but have an interpreter to interpreting deaf people what pastor saying.

    I believe deaf should be separate from hearing service, because of their level, and most deaf people prefer have a leader uses sign for preaching or teaching to understand more clear than watching interpreter. Of course, many deaf people prefer deaf church because of their culture.

    Should hearing people invlove with deaf ministry? Aboslutely! YES! God uses many hearing people like Ted Camp, Eugene Bordean, Darwin Smith, etc. They have BIG heart for deaf people. I thank God for them to teaching deaf people to understand God's Word.

    Some deaf church saying, 'deaf church is for deaf only!'.

    I like Harvest Deaf Baptist Church of Ringgold, GA. That deaf church allows many hearing people visit and to be invlove with deaf church as ministry. There is half of hearing, half of deaf among them over average 200 attendance at that deaf church daily Sunday. That church is mixed with deaf and hearing, because of that church's pastor is deaf, and pastor's wife is hearing. No wonder why that church is mixed of color, race, hearing, deaf, all are welcome for to worship and serve the Lord.

    I learned that many deaf ministries at hearing churches in 1950's to 1970's, they were big and lot of numbers. Now, most deaf ministries are few, and more establish deaf church.

    But, of course there were several deaf church during 1950's to 1970's. They were large such as Wealthy Park Baptist Church of Grand Rapids, Mich. That deaf church is still running since from 1934 to today. It was large of average 300. But, today it is only average 30 attedance.

    We know that we are in the last days, because of apostasy.

    Interesting, all missionaries in other countries, all deaf ministries always separated or established OWN deaf church. But, in America, most of hearing baptist churches have "deaf ministry".

    av1611jim,

    I urge you to attend 2005 BDFA as Askjo recommends you. I wish, I could meet you there this year. I hope you will be able to attend 2005 DBFA in near Kasnsas City, MO. And you will learning LOT of deaf culture.

    In Christ
    Rev. 22:20 -Amen!
     
  7. av1611jim

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    Thank you brothers askjo and DPT for the invite. But my own home church is also having their conference at that exact time. :( It is hard to be in two places at one time! LOL

    Thank you for your comments so far.
    I can understand how watching an interpreter would be hard to follow the preaching. It is also a common problem in foreign fields. Sometimes the interpretation isn't as clear as what the preacher would like. It is much better for the preacher to know the language of the people he is preaching to. This is similar? Am I correct?

    What else in the deaf "culture" is different?

    Also, what do you mean DPT when you say the preacher preaches much deeper than the deaf can understand? Are the deaf (in general) not as "mature" in their understanding or what? This makes no sense to me. It seems like you are saying that the deaf are not as grounded in Bible as the hearing? I think I am misunderstanding you.
    Now that I think of it, this is a good example of misunderstandings between deaf and hearing because of differences in expression.

    In HIS service;
    Jim
     
  8. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    Part of the problem, at least 25 years ago, is that ASL had a very limited theological vocabulary. It was not that the deaf were any less able, it is just that there were very few theological words in their language. Many theogical terms were simply invented by the interpreter by adapting a similar word. Yet, that did not always capture what the preacher is saying.

    Haviing preached in signs and interpreted that was a major problem when the message go too "deep." I deaf preacher knows the problem and can adapt his message to fit the vocabulary.

    I am trusting that this has improved over the years. Any word from our deaf brethren on this issue today?
     
  9. Squire Robertsson

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    Considering the difficulties I have experienced in try to travel the bridge from good theological English to good theological Russian, I can appreciate the situation. (In my library I still have a book entitle Theological German.) From what C4K wrote, it seems ASL does/did not have a detailed theological vocabulary.
     
  10. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    It is even very diffiulct to a non-theological people. The Irish signs, for example are VERY catholic. The sign for "baptise" for example, is using the thumb to make a cross on the forehead.
     
  11. Squire Robertsson

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    Sounds like you hace to go from theological Irish to theological ASL. Thological Russian is heavily influenced by the Orthodox church.
     
  12. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    Of course here the language is ISL [​IMG] .

    The hearing and deaf cultures are indeed different ;) .
     
  13. TaterTot

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    I agree with DeafPostTrib about deaf needing to be in deaf churches. An interpreter can only interpret as he/she understands anyway. So by the time a deaf person gets the message it is 2nd hand. I have watched interpreters who didnt understand the concepts preached, and signed a different concept. (make sense?)

    And hearing preachers (as well as just hearing people) say so many things that are just fillers - One I always hated that my pastor said was, "And until you come to place that you realize the fact that..." Another one my husband says is "all sorts of things like that". Drives me crazy. So while I was waiting to hear the "meat", the deaf felt they were missing something. Oh, and maybe one day I'll tell about the night at a community service a man started speaking in tongues and trying to get away from the demons...Freaked me and the deaf folks out!!

    I was part of a deaf church in Puerto Rico suring a 6 month short term missionary assignment (NAMB), and it was wonderful - deaf teaching deaf. But the negative was that none of the deaf leaders (pastors even)had any theological training of any sort. So the people could only go as deep as their leaders. (Part of my job was "reverse interpreting" for a hearing lady married to a deaf man, and she didnt know sign. I know, strange.)

    ASKJO: I trained in ASL interpretation, but I used whatever the deaf person preferred. Some of the children used SEE, so I tried to accomodate.
     
  14. Mexdeaf

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    av1611jim-

    The big deal is that many theological ideas are ABSTRACT. Deaf people, by and large (how's that for a filler??), are CONCRETE thinkers. They understand best what they can see, touch, feel and experience.

    For example, a preacher may use a lot of idioms. Idioms are impossible to translate, because they rely on abstract ideas.

    Also hearing humor is different from deaf humor. Much hearing humor is based on a play on the words. It goes right over the head of the deaf, because their language is not English, it is ASL.

    Another thing- Deaf people are in NO WAY 'dumb'. They are smart in many ways that hearing people cannot be. My wife is deaf and she many times can tell me when someone is lying to me, just by looking at their face. Facial expressions are VERY important to the deaf- hearing folks tend to listen to vocal inflections.

    I could go on and on, and if time permits will write more later. Thanks for asking and maybe God will touch some pastors through this thread to find out about the deaf in their community.

    WHO is teaching the deaf in YOUR city?
     
  15. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    Okay - youguys are getting me convicted about my failure to learn ISL (Irish Sign Language). I took one short course, but was overwhelmed by the difference between it and ASL. Perhaps I need to get back into a course.
     
  16. Mexdeaf

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    In Mexico also, many of the signs are 'Catholic'. We have had to develop our own theological signs, for example the sign for 'confess'- Catholic deaf cup their hands around their mouth like they are confessing to a priest, Baptists use the ASL 'admit' sign.

    Glad to have you back in the fold, C4K. Do you know Richard Fulton? I think they have a deaf ministry in their church over there.
     
  17. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    They do. I think they are staring to use ISL now - for a while they were combining ASL with signed English, but I think they have been trying to incorporate ISL recently.

    The deaf culture here is very opposed to signed English. They may communicate with a hearing person using it, but if you really wany yo be involved one must learn and use ISL.

    Big task ahead if I pursuse. Would appreciate your prayers for wisdom and direction.
     
  18. Deafmidweeker

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    Hello,

    Yes, I am deaf, too. I worked in the deaf ministry at a local Baptist church in Sellersville, PA. I am also the Sunday School teacher for the adult deaf class. So I understand the deaf culture.

    I know that deaf people don't like interpreters much. They prefer a deaf church or a deaf Sunday School class, so they can see a deaf pastor preach and teach, or a deaf SS teacher teach. Interpreting in a hearing worship service is very hard, especially during preaching, because the interpeter has to listen to the preacher, analyze what he said in his/her mind, and interpret it to Deaf in sign language. Deaf pepple prefer to fellowship with their own people who are deaf, because it is easier to communicate with.

    Deafmidweeker
     
  19. Squire Robertsson

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    Having a bi-lingual background, in my case Russian and English, I can make this observations. If for no other reason, I am lousy at learning foriegn languages. Inflections and me do not mix. So, in the Russian language services I attend, I sit there not understand a word of what is being said or sung. For many of the same reasons as have been put forth by the dead posters. However, before and after the service there are sufficent numbers of English speakers that I have a time of good fellowship there.

    My observations:

    I well understand the situation of having to go through an interperter. I especially understand the difficulty of interperting when the preacher is not going slow enough for the interperter to do their job. (When I preach in Nezavisimaya Baptist, I preach thorugh an interperter. So a 15 minute message takes 20-25 minutes.)

    I also would advise my deaf brethren to remember they aren't alone in their situation.
     
  20. Dr.Tim

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    I sat down and typed a LONG reply to this discussion and when I tried to send it.. the computer froze and everything was lost.
    Seems like just about everything that has been said so far is good and true. I dont think I can add much.
    Squire's point about interpreters is true. I live in New Orleans, and there are MANY different language churches in the area. I attended Korean and Spanish and each time an interpreter was used..and it does make things a little less exciting.
    As a single man, I admit that often I find myself seeking a deaf woman and not hearing woman, simply because of the language and cultural understanding. I do have a good knowledge of hearing culture..and language.. but I just feel at home with the Deaf.
    There are some deaf who are too militant. Most think I am militant but I was given that label because the hearing folks treated us like mentally retarded people. I cherish every hearing person that the Lord gives me to work in ministry.
     

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