Archives For culture shock

Sport Builds Bridges

March 26, 2015

Language study is one of the hardest and most time-consuming efforts missionaries make.

There is, however, a language which is common to the world and far easier to learn.

This is the language of sport.

When my family arrived in South Africa as lovers of sport, we missed a trip to the Super Bowl by my wife’s hometown team. At the time, we just did not know how to watch the game. Now I could tell you many ways.

Instead of watching the Super Bowl, in the early days our TV was tuned to cricket. I attempted to understand this game and its rules. Especially difficult was the idea of playing to a tie over five days.

I’ve seen how learning, watching, attending, and playing the local sports of a nation can build bridges and bond you to a culture.

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One of the biggest challenges in cross cultural work is knowing what you can and cannot do. This happens both culturally and in religious settings.

The “gray areas” in Scripture are numerous. The do not’s are obvious, but there are many times when we are not sure if it is good or not to walk in a certain freedom we feel we have.

Paul gives three principles to follow which will help us know when freedom is not something we want to hold onto.

1. Give up your freedom if it stumbles another (1 Cor. 8:9) Even if something is not wrong, Paul says it becomes wrong if we cause others to stumble.

There are many times when we could do something, but should give it up for the sake of another. Issues of alcohol, music, dress, and many cultural things come to mind.

Stop Comparing!

April 19, 2012

You may be sick of me talking about Cross-Cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility, but  it is profoundly influencing what I am thinking about. (I think that is the goal of every author, at least this one!)

My thought today has to do with Duane Elmer’s exploration of ethnocentrism. In other words, the view of life through the filter of one’s own culture, believing it to be the best.

When you move overseas you constantly compare things to your homeland. The way people drive, what people where, the food you eat, as well as the general sense of cleanliness, time, and productivity.

Perpetual comparison becomes exhausting. It wearies one to always be searching for ways in which your culture is superior. This can keep us from realizing how amazing the people and nation we serve in actually are.

So, STOP IT!