Thursday, September 28, 2006

When Two Worlds Collide- Part 2

My post titled, When Two Worlds Collide, generated an interesting discussion. Thank you for being open and talkative in your comments to me (and one another), I love it! I am very sorry that it took so long to answer the query that I posed.

Galant shared that at his church a guest speaker, who was from Iran and a former Muslim, had briefly mentioned Eastern countries being ‘shame based.’ He also touched on the reality that Western cultures are ‘guilt-based.’ Galant was disappointed that the man did not further explain the concept.

As you know, I am extremely passionate about spreading the message of Christ to all nations, languages, cultures and sub-cultures. There are not enough hours in the day for me to read and study the myriad worldviews that constitute humanity.

Humans are incredibly complex. There are no two people that are exactly the same. Similarly, cultures are complex and no culture is like another. Inside each group of people there are foundational beliefs and emotions which govern that culture’s general behavior. Their public actions, though, are only surface representatives for the undercurrent of their theology, philosophy, sociology and ethics.

There are three major classifications of cultures. They are the following:

1- Shame/ Honor based cultures
2- Guilt/ Innocence (or reward) based cultures
3- Fear/ Power based cultures

So I gave Galant an exercise that would declare what cultural worldview he possesses. Daniel Oh, a missionary trainer who travels around the world, taught a lecture at Perspectives on the World Christian Movement with this "quiz" as the central focus.

Have someone walk in front of you and drop something (like a pencil).
What did (or would) you say to them?

Before I share the explanation, here are some responses left in comments:

Galant answered- I'd go to pick it up and let them know they dropped it. "Excuse just dropped this" - hold it out to them. Hopefully I'd smile, and then I'd go on about my business.

Kathie responded-
If someone walked in front of me and dropped something, I would pick it up for them, or attempt to pick it up for them and say, "Excuse me, you dropped this."

The easiest way to pinpoint a person's cultural base is to see where they place blame. There is one word in both of these answers that lets me know what culture base Kathie and Galant are from. Whether or not they meant to "blame" the person for dropping the item, they both said, " dropped..." They placed the blame on the person which leads me to conclude that they are from a Guilt/ Innocence culture.

People from the Shame/ Honor based culture would never think to say to a person, "you did this." Instead, they would pick the pen up and respond, "The pen fell from your hand" or "The pen jumped to the ground." Honor is so important to people from these cultures, that lying and cheating are better, if it honors a person, than bringing shame to someone.

Western cultures, such as the United States and England, are overwhelmingly guilt focused. Think about our advertisements, evangelistic strategies, laws, news and books. Everything is centered around who is right, who is wrong, what rewards we can get for doing right and who is being punished for thier bad choices.

Eastern cultures, such as Iraq, are overwhelmingly honor focused. People watch the news, of Iraqi men burning American flags and we blame, "Look at them. That is wrong." Yet, they are not thinking about right and wrong, they are trying to shame us and bring honor to their people. An incredible article, although lengthy, on Honor and Shame is here. They want more honor for themselves, their people and their families. They seek to honor others as a way to gain honor. They shame those who have brought shame.

The third culture, fear and power, is most commonly seen among tribal nations. Tribesmen fear spirits, disease and weather. The only way to overcome the fear is to be strong. If you have studied Jim Elliot and the time he spent with the Acuas, you will understand this culture a little bit. I encourage you to watch The End of the Spear, a movie about the missionaries to Ecuador, and the documentary Beyond the Gates of Splendor.

The most fascinating thing for me, as I have studied different cultures, is the reality that Jesus lived among people whose mindset flowed from honor/ shame. Many times when we read the Bible we filter passages through our guilt and reward biased mind. Did you know that when you talk to a person from an honor/ shame society they might answer a question with a question? They do this to bring honor to themselves by showing you that they can have a better question. Now, think about how Jesus related to the Pharisees. They asked a question. He responded with a question. And who had the question that left the other party speechless, bringing more honor to Himself (whether THEY realized it or not)? None other than- Jesus. Who honored those who were shamed by dining with them? Jesus. Jesus took the idea of honor/ shame and completely upset the basket.

Jesus and his apostles, like Paul, after Him, challenged people to honor others above themselves. This was a new concept. Honor one another above myself, my honor, my dignity? Think of them before I think of me? You have got to be kidding. Life is all about getting me honor and shaming others, isn't it? Not if you follow Jesus.

Neither is there blame or reward. Both cultures are seeking to make themselves look better, either through guilt or honoring self. Although two different worldviews, they lead us to the same place. Pride. And pride and the gospel cannot function together. Therefore, neither perspective is right all the way. We need the only One worthy of recieving honor, Jesus, to set us free. Since we are powerless to have a right relationship with Christ outside of His death and resurrection, we cannot boast. What can we boast about? There is no amount of honor that we can earn that will pay off our debt to God. There are not enough good things we can do to get a passage to heaven.

Jesus paid it all, for all cultures, for all times, for all worldviews and for all of humanity. He made Himself the center of the crisis, erased our debt and set those who believe free. So, honor one another above yourself. Let go of your guilt. Be free.

"And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
Ephesians 2:6-10
"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited."
Romans 12:10, 14-15
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:3-10
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Pure and Simple

Have you ever watched a delicate flower during a violent storm? As the rain and hail pound the tender leaves, it moves gracefully with the wind. No matter how hard the rain falls, when the sun shines again, the flower does everything it can to raise its head to the sun.

I want to be like the flower in this picture. There were more stunning flowers around it. It was small. It was strong. When I took the picture, I thought, I want to present this flower as looking large, yet small, all alone, but with the sun shining all over.

The storms in my life have fallen, hard and long, the last few years. Still, I have come out stronger and more like Christ because of them. Each joy, each heartache, I would not trade for anything if they have made me more like Jesus.

I have learned that purity is more than behavior or appearance. Purity invades the core of a person's life until they are conformed to the likeness of Christ. Purity is not ignorance, but knowing evil exists and resisting. Simplicity is similar, for it understands that life is only good when centered around God, the King of the Universe.
Pure and simple, like the flower, is what I want to be.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Distant Thunder

Theology. Philosophy. Abortion. Genocide. Sociology. Homeschooling. Missions.

Somethings are just too heavy to post about amid pictures of cute kids and funny stories. I have done what I thought I would never do- start a second blog. It always looks strange to me when there is a "life update" following an entry where I have either shared a deep thought or launched a spiritual challenge. Furthermore, I do not write as freely as I would like to about my convictions, spiritual thoughts and social issues.

Thus the second blog. I might rant about public schooling, weep over abortion, challenge common thought processes, discuss philosophy or review a book. I will write whatever comes to mind or what God is teaching me. We'll see.

I am sorry, in a way, to do this to my faithful "reader," for it is yet another blog you might feel obligated to read. But if you read anything of mine, please, read the new blog.

Thunder is rumbling in my heart. It shall not be silenced. Not this time. Too much is at stake.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Introducing... "What was that???"

My dear friend, Katie, has started a blog. She began as just a co-worker, but quickly became one of the best friends I have ever and will ever have. I have watched her grow spiritually as we have spent hours together discussing life, love and Jesus. She is funny, classy, groggy in the mornings, an awesome snow-boarder and loves Jesus with all her heart. She is apart of my family, having supported us through many trials and joys the past four years.

Now, I am excited to share her with all of you. She is apprehensive about this blogging word, so please, for humor sake- go comment on her blog. :-P OH, and ask her why she titled it as she did. It's a good story!

I am pleased to introduce:

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Free the Dalits

Two things. First, please look at the Dalit Freedom Network website. I will be posting more about it soon. Second, I have begun a new blog and will tell you more about it next week. Be ready. I'm on fire.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

When Galant Speaks

Galant's post this morning brought me to tears.

I would like for all of you to read it, not because it will strike the same emotion inside of you that it did in me, but because the exhortation that he communicates is crucial for all disciples of Christ. Before you read it, though, please read the following entry from My Utmost for His Highest, September 10th:

"When thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee." John 1:48

We imagine we would be all right if a big crisis arose; but the big crisis will only reveal the stuff we are made of, it will not put anything into us. "If God gives the call, of course I will rise to the occasion." You will not unless you have risen to the occasion in the workshop, unless you have been the real thing before God there. If you are not doing the thing that lies nearest, because God has engineered it; when the crisis comes instead of being revealed as fit, you will be revealed as unfit. Crises always reveal character.

The private relationship of worshipping God is the great essential of fitness. The time comes when there is no more "fig-tree" life possible, when it is out into the open, out into the glare and into the work, and you will find yourself of no value there if you have not been worshipping as occasion serves you in your home. Worship aright in your private relationships, then when God sets you free you will be ready, because in the unseen life which no one saw but God you have become perfectly fit, and when the strain comes you can be relied upon by God.

"I can't be expected to live the sanctified life in the circumstances I am in; I have no time for praying just now, no time for Bible reading, my opportunity hasn't come yet; when it does, of course I shall be all right." No, you will not. If you have not been worshipping as occasion serves, when you get into work you will not only be useless yourself, but a tremendous hindrance to those who are associated with you.

The workshop of missionary munitions is the hidden, personal, worshipping life of the saint.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Family Wedding

We had our first family wedding on August 19th. My cousin, Mat, married his long time friend, Katie. They asked my dad, as the pastor in the family, to officiate the ceremony. My dad was so honored! He led them through four weeks of premarital counseling where he and my mom discussed the various aspects of marriage. Since neither Mat nor Katie are believers, it was a special time for my parents to share Jesus' message of love.

The wedding went fantastic and we all had a wondeful time! These are two of my favorite pictures. Mat, the Groom and my cousin (picture taken by my dad); the cut cake and Katie's fingers (picture taken by yours truly).

I wish I had time to post pictures of us dancing, them doing the toast, the food and the rest of my family, but these two pictures on dial-up took 30 minutes to upload! More to come soon... I promise!!!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Drag Racing Bears Paint Roller Coasters

Drag racing bears paint roller coasters.

What? You didn't know that the bears who participate in drag racing also paint pictures of roller coasters? Ok, so just for fun I combined all of the events of my weekend into one sentence.

Drag Racing
Saturday Katie and I went to Bandimere Speedway to watch the Quaker State Drag Racing Finals. The event was set to begin at 9:30AM and so I picked Katie up at 8:15. We arrived on time- to an empty parking lot. It was cool and raining.

I guess, being a girl, it did not cross my mind to think that drag racing could not proceed in the rain. It makes complete sense now that I know. High velocity automobiles traveling 0-179MPH in 8 seconds cannot risk ANY moisture on the track. They hydroplane.

So we waited. And waited. The woman at the ticket counter said they were hoping to start by 11:30. So we waited some more. And waited. The rain cleared a bit and so we ventured into the stadium. We dried a seat and got comfortable. And then it started raining again. We decided to go eat lunch and come back. As we sat in my car eating the picnic lunch (the one I thought we would enjoy spread out on the grass) we heard the load speakers come on. It was finally time!

We went back to the stadium and found our bench. The drag racing started at 1:30PM. Four hours late isn't too bad, is it? Were we crazy for waiting? Maybe so, but Katie had never been to a drag race! She looked at me and quipped, "We have waited four hours. It's a good thing we like each other."

We had so much fun, although we stuck out like a sore thumb. The general demographic of the attenders were: Male; 25-50 years old; dressed in leather jackets and ball caps with flaming cars; these men and their "in training" 13 year old sons. The women we saw were their wives, dressed in tight jeans, brightly colored wind breakers and feathered hair styles from the 70's.

The super-long pro drag car traveled down the 1/4 mile track in 8 seconds at 179MPH. Don't blink, you might miss it! Until the super pro raced, the red and white Corvette held the record at 145MPH. Wooooooobuddy! I have pictures of some cars that I will try to upload soon! (Didn't I say that about 10 other things the last 3 months???)

Ben has been house-sitting for some people in a quaint montain town about 1 hour from our home. Monday night Victoria, Timothy and I went with him to check the plants, feed the animals and watch for bears. We refilled all of the hummingbird feeders with sugar water, gave the black squirrels and birds sunflowers seeds, dumped out peanuts for the elk and bears, and prepared hotdogs and cookies for the fox.

There was not special food for the skunk, but he came for dinner anyway. He hung around for 10 minutes while we took pictures (that did not turn out). We tiptoed out onto the deck, which is elevated about 10 off of the ground. As soon as we came out he skampered up the hill out of sight. A couple of times he did raise his tail in our direction- good thing we were in the basement.

As the sun set over the mountains, we decided to wait and watch for the fox to come get his dinner. We see fox all the time in our own neightborhood, so it was nothing super special. Timothy and Victoria, equipped with flashlights, were watching for the elk and bears. They moved windows and so I took over their post.

As soon as I stepped up to the window I could tell there was an animal down there. It was a large black shadow moving slowly toward the house. I aimed my flashlight at the shadow and clicked it on. Two glowing eyes stared at me from the face of the largest black bear I have ever seen. I whispered, "There's a bear! Come quick! Quietly! There he is!!!" We gathered at the window as Ben scrambled to turn on the camera. A bear. We were looking directly at a bear. And he was looking at us!

It was now pitch black and we, at least three of us, were too scared to go to the car. So we waited a few minutes and then made a run for it!

Since our basement flooded a couple weeks ago, we had to replace drywall and paint, which we did Monday morning. My mom was the mad scientist and concocted a beautiful baby blue. We are transforming the once school room to the office/ library. The school room desks and current cirriculum has been moved to the adjacent large room in the basement. It is a mess right now and school was supposed to start 2 weeks ago. Who knew that leaving the hose on overnight would cause so much damage?

Roller Coasters
My aunt and her four grandchildren came down from Cheyenne to spend Labor Day Weekend with us. On Sunday we went to Six Flags, thus the "roller coaster" part of my random sentence. I love, absolutely LOVE roller coasters. The higher and the faster- the better!

So there is my random update about the weekend. I hope to post more pictures later when I have time. Ha. Hope all is well for everyone!!!