May 28, 2024
Cross-Cultural Living, Book Reviews, Cultural learning

Cultural Views on Wealth

When I was growing up, my parents were very clear about what I should talk about with others in order to respect what our culture saw as being polite. There seemed to be a very long list of taboo topics that people weren’t supposed to talk about. I chuckle now as I think back to the line “and never, EVER discuss politics.” My, how things have evolved in my home culture in my lifetime!  Another topic one did not discuss was money. Wealth (or lack thereof), debt, spending habits and amount of one’s income were all generally off limits. We should not discuss these topics with people outside of our immediate family. I observed that this was an accepted cultural attitude—your money was no one else’s business. I remember once asking my parents if one of their friends was RICH. By their response, you would have thought I swore or something. But I guess asking… Read the whole post
Learning Attitude, Cultural learning

A different understanding of boundaries

A Gentle Word to Those Wanting to Help Ukrainian Refugees Editor’s note: Julie Mosse and her husband Alfie have spent many years working as cross-cultural workers in Ukraine. Recently, they spent a few months in Poland, helping Ukrainian refugees fleeing the military conflict in their own country. Recently, I sat with one beautiful Ukrainian church worker in a little cafe in Krakow, Poland. She loves Jesus, is a seminary mission program graduate, and has a wealth of ministry and cross-cultural experience. Currently she is also a refugee from the war in Ukraine, having fled Odessa with her mom, sister, and tiny nephew.1 See another blog post about refugees from Ukraine. She works with a local Ukrainian church which, like all of these churches, is flooded – with people, with needs, with decisions, and with opportunities.   Weary leaders The leaders of these Ukrainian diaspora churches are doing everything they can to… Read the whole post
Cross-Cultural Living, Cultural learning

I really am not that weird

This blog post was originally posted as “I Too Am a Foreigner” on the blog “A Life Overseas.” It is reposted with permission from the author. Ivy Cheeseman and her family have served with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Southeast Asia for the last 10 years. She enjoys hiking, writing, and seeing God’s grace and power shine through the local church. I’ve been contemplating these thoughts for years, but I’ve been hesitant to share them. Most importantly, I didn’t want to make any unfair comparisons. Unlike some of my foreign friends from other nations, I’ve never fled a house being burned by soldiers. They’ve endured so much trauma, and they can’t return. I, on the other hand, can go back “home” anytime I want. Neither did I want to be misconstrued as being political. I’m not here to offer political commentary on complex issues such as immigration. As a Christ-follower, I… Read the whole post
Leadership, Lifelong Learning, Book Reviews, Cultural learning

What makes an organizational culture effective?

Cross-cultural workers spend a lot of time thinking about, discussing, and examining cultures. Ethnography is a foundational skill for missionaries. But I have found that we are much less adept at understanding and describing organizational cultures, even the cultures of the organizations in which we serve. What does an effective organizational culture look like? What kind of organizational culture would lead to greater fruitfulness and well-being of our members? Even more mysterious is how leaders can nurture the organizational culture they would like to prevail. Or can we even change or develop our organizational culture? I have just finished “The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups” by Daniel Coyle. I believe that this book begins to answer some of these questions, at least for me. Coyle set out to discover the reasons why some groups, teams, or organizations accomplish far more than what we would expect of them… Read the whole post
Spiritual Formation, Book Reviews, Learning Attitude, Worldview, Cultural learning

Teaching and Learning: a review of two great books

Two great books on teaching and learning have been published in the last two years. They complement each other well. In 2020, Duane and Muriel Elmer’s The Learning Cycle: Insights for Faithful Teaching from Neuroscience and the Social Sciences was published by IVP. And this year (2021), Baker published Craig Ott’s Teaching and Learning Across Cultures: A Guide to Theory and Practice. The authors bring both extensive research and experience to the discussion of teaching and learning. The Learning Cycle by Duane and Muriel Elmer In a sense, this book is a capstone of Duane and Muriel Elmer’s writings and ministry.1 Many of Duane Elmer’s books have been foundational training materials for cross-cultural missionary service. See a review on this blog of one of his books, Cross-Cultural Servanthood. Duane created “the learning cycle” as part of his doctoral research at Michigan State University (p. 6). Subsequently, Muriel added the “barriers… Read the whole post
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