Entering a new world…

Just received and skimmed Culture to Culture:  Mission Trip Do’s and Don’ts.  This book provides a country by county list of acceptable interpersonal behaviors so that mission trip visitors will not make idiots of themselves.  It recognizes that each culture has its on particulars and the most loving thing is conform our actions to the norms of the community we are in.  For Christians this is the heart of incarnational ministry.  This is what Jesus did.  He did not visit us as culturally neutral.  That can’t be done.  Instead, he became a Jew to share his life and love with the Jewish people.  We,too, must learn the language, customs, and cultural proclivities of the people we are amongst wherever we are.  Now of course, we don’t do that completely uncritically.  The gospel challenges every culture since many cultural ways are not neutral or helpful but sinful.  But, that’s not where we begin.  We begin seeking to understand.  We must first enter their world just as Jesus did.  To what extent are we entering the world of others?   The old missionary way was so invade the foreign culture with one felt to be “superior,” and to push the people to conform to it.  But, this isn’t the way of Jesus. Nor should it be ours.  It is in the gospel that we are provided the security that we need to do just this.

Now as I read this book, for us Miamians we need such a handbook not for trips abroad but for trips to the grocery store!

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Sandy Carson on April 13, 2012 at 12:32 am

    I could definitely benefit from reading the section on Latin cultures. Please share.
    xoxox

    Reply

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