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    Thursday, June 21, 2012

    Urban Life- Final Post

    In the last installments of Urban Life, Urban Life #2, Urban Life #3Urban Life #4 and Urban Life #5 we looked at some normative reasons for cross-cultural conflict and #4 started to deal with the solutions to these reasons for conflict.  This post will look at the final solutions as well as conclude the series.  This is Part 6 of a 6 part series on Cross-Cultural Conflict

                When it comes to time, patience and understanding must be applied.  Western culture is one of the main proponents of “on time”, but unlike Western Culture, in many other cultures time is relative and flexible.  Many in America would suspect someone’s being late as rude and uncaring, but this is simply not the case in a more Eastern Culture mindset.  As I’ve personally interacted with several different cultures and the way different people look at time, I’ve had to learn to be flexible.  

        Knowing a certain person will usually be late, you can add in buffer time to your appointment, visit etc.  Make sure you have other things lined up in the wings to do as you wait so your time can still be productive. 

     Also, don’t always point out the fact that the person is late, because this may serve to shame them and cause them to pull away.

                Several events have happened where this reality of time occurred, believe me if you interact with people not of the Western mindset, at first this time thing will irritate you but always remember the relationship is what comes first.  We can’t expect people to bend to our time constraints simply because we want them to, this is an assumption that will cause much strife for both parties.

    The Gospel

                Overcoming this obstacle is the largest one I think the American Church is charged with because people from all over the world are coming to our doorstep and we need to be communicators of the Gospel message in many different tongues. The thing that above all impacted my thinking of our Gospel message came from Elmer’s book Cross Cultural Conflict, because it takes the key concepts of shame, saving face and honor and displays them in how we are too spread the Gospel among people who see those as high values.  

    The Gospel offends the individual and shows them their sins, but in order for this message to be heard by some Eastern people, the way in which we share this truth is key. The portion that struck the strongest chord along the vain of sharing the Gospel to a diverse group was the portion Elmer entitled: “Jesus the Shame Bearer”.  Elmer says: “To bear shame for one’s wrong is hard, but to bear shame for always doing right is an infinitely greater shame” (Elmer, 1993, pg. 142).  Jesus had no shame of his own to bear, but bore our shame in order to bring us to God.  In a culture where bearing one’s shame is the hardest thing to do, imagining someone doing that instead of you is astronomical.  However, wrongly presented this could cause people to not even hear the message or the intent of Christ bearing our shame.

                Seeing these normative reasons for cross-cultural conflict and their subsequent solutions should spur us on to seek to deepen our relationships with those different than ourselves as well as our relationship to God.  The one thing that continues to reign in my life as a cross-cultural person is the reality that I find out more about God because of it.  Left to my own devices and being with people just like me, I would miss a whole scope of God I wouldn’t even know existed.  This benefit has been a true blessing both to myself and my family because we have been able to experience God within diverse community and learn that our God truly is diverse.