12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
This text is one of the better guides for cross-cultural ministry that I have found. In its relatively few pages (only 120 pages), it contains a wealth of information based on some easily-remembered and applied principles.
Increasingly in the world today, no matter what profession one chooses, there will be people from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures -- even in the smallest of towns, people from different social strata will interact and come together in certain venues, and church and chaplaincy settings are among those. Cross-cultural ministry is not something reserved to those going off in foreign mission fields, but has an impact right here at home, wherever home may be.
One of the key concepts here is the dealing with conversation and conflict. The way people interact differently can lead to conflict -- not necessarily open violence (although sometimes that can happen), but rather the kind of tension that is caused when people don't understand each other. What we sometimes fail to forget is that people attribute importance and moral force to their actions and those of others, and will react not only to what is being said and done, but to their own interpretations of the meanings of those words and actions. This is derived from cultural influences -- shared culture as well as personal and family culture.
Lingenfelter and Mayer look at key concepts -- differences in the way we look at time, judgement, crisis management, goals, self-valuation, and vulnerabilities. For example, in urban cultures, people tend to lead fast-paced lives more frequently than those in small-town cultures; a person moving from one setting to another may find it irritating to be in such a setting, and perhaps not even know why.
The authors bring in examples from around the world (Yapese-Micronesian, Latin American, African, etc.) as well as different groups in North America for comparison and contrast. This is not a book of stories, but rather essays that illustrate the basic principles, which are in turn supported by stories and examples, including some of the authors' own experiences. This is in concert with the incarnational model the authors put forward, a way of growing into the culture, and being part of a culture respected and held as valid as any the outside observer or participant might naturally hold.
Ultimately, Lingenfelter and Mayers invite people to work toward being 150% persons, drawing on Malcolm McFee's observation about Native Americans (in particular, the Blackfoot) who were not quite completely Native Americans any longer, but rather about 75%, and that they had assimilated sufficiently into the dominant culture that they fit 75% in there, hence 150%. This is what we must do, working to incorporate other cultures into ourselves while retaining the best and most important of our own.
This is a very useful book, full of insight and helpful suggestions, key ideas and meaningful stories.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 October 2011
This book at first was a big suprise for me, it really gripped me and opened up things i hadn't realised. We today think we understand all cultures. However we don't as much as we think we do, this book shows us how to look at our own ways that we might think is 'normal' and all people 'should behave' like this, but in other cultures it is not seen as a priority or even acceptable. It opened my eyes to all my funny little English quirks that i thought didn't really exsit. I had trouble putting this book down. Enjoy!