February 26, 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
Hardship, Resilience

The kingdom of God – in clay pots

The weakness of the kingdom In the past couple of blog posts, I have talked about the weakness of the kingdom of God. By this I mean, the kingdom that Jesus proclaimed and inaugurated was a kingdom that was not impressive or powerful. Jesus came to an inconsequential Jewish backwater province as an itinerant preacher, without status, money or military might. He saw the need of the people, and sought to address it, but his kingdom was sorely understaffed. To the disappointment of his little band of followers, the movement he started did not expel the Roman conquerors. Instead, this humble king was arrested and executed as a criminal by these Romans. His poor, uneducated and apparently unreliable disciples, were deemed incapable of carrying on the vision of this upstart king. But Jesus’ kingdom proved to be remarkably resilient and defied all expectations. Crucifying the King did not destroy the… Read the whole post
Christ, Evangelism, Church

The Kingdom of God: the workers are few

Over the 35 years that I have been working in cross-cultural missions, I have seen mission organizations highlight many different needs, opportunities, and strategies. Countries open and close. New methods gain prominence while others are abandoned. Younger generations are motivated by different themes. But one characteristic of mission work never changes. We need many, many more workers to address the opportunities before us. “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few,” as Jesus said. According to Joshua Project, 7,423 people groups with a total of 3.37 billion people remain unreached.1“Unreached” is defined as less than 2% evangelical. Joshua Project: People Groups of the World | Joshua Project Missionaries and local Christian workers to these unreached people total about 32,200 people.2 from Missions Statistics — The Traveling Team. Therefore the ratio of UPG workers to the total unreached world is 1 Christian worker or missionary for every 105,000 unreached people.… Read the whole post
Gospel, Hardship, Missionary Roles, Christ

The Kingdom of God: what you see is what you get

Gordon D. Fee | Faculty | Regent College (regent-college.edu) A few months ago, I saw the news that one of my professors in graduate school, Dr. Gordon Fee, died at the age of 88. Dr. Fee taught with fervor and intensity, often slipping unconsciously into passionate preaching in the middle of a lecture. He was also an excellent biblical scholar. For many years, he served as the general editor for the acclaimed New International Commentary series. I am very grateful that I had the privilege to learn from him. The absolutely crucial term for understanding Jesus My favourite course with Fee was on the life and teachings of Jesus. I sat spellbound in one of the front rows of the lecture hall as he unpacked the message of Jesus from the four Gospels. When Dr. Fee came to Lecture #13, “The Proclamation of the Kingdom”, he announced that this was… Read the whole post
Character, Cross-Cultural Living, Book Reviews, Learning Attitude

Global Humility – A book, a challenge, a prayer

Editor’s note: This book review was originally posted on the blog, A Life Overseas. It is reposted with permission from the author, Marilyn Gardner. Marilyn grew up in Pakistan and as an adult has lived in Pakistan, Egypt, the United States, and most recently Northern Iraq. She currently lives in Boston where she works with community health workers from immigrant and refugee communities. You can find her blogging at Communicating Across Boundaries. This review of the book Global Humility was written in 2018, just after she moved to Northern Iraq. “Building bridges means moving beyond my enclave of cultural comfort, moving to a place of cultural humility and willingness to learn.”   Marilyn Gardner, Between Worlds, Essays on Culture and Belonging  Five weeks ago we moved from an apartment in the multicultural city of Cambridge, Massachusetts to an apartment in a city nestled beneath the kewa rash (black mountains) of… Read the whole post
Success in ministry

Dealing with Deadlines

As we approach the end of a year, we face approaching deadlines, often coming more quickly than we had hoped. Many of our goals in our Annual Ministry Plan Season are due at the end of this year. Back in January, we identified some projects we wanted to complete in 2022, and now we just have a few more weeks to do so. I already know that my team and I will not complete some of these goals this year. Hopefully next year, we can finish them. We also face deadlines in more personal areas. Christmas is just two weeks away, and we still have gifts to purchase and wrap before then. The deadline set by Canada Post for sending Christmas cards within Canada is December 16. To send cards to the USA, our deadline is even earlier – December 12. For sending to most of the rest of the… Read the whole post
Teaming, Assessment Tools, Book Reviews

What is your genius at work?

I have taken many different personality and strength assessments over the years. Myers-Briggs, Grip-Birkman, MinistryStyles, StrengthsFinder, DiSC, Enneagram, and 5 Voices are a few that stick out. Part of my motivation in taking these assessments was to evaluate their effectiveness. I wanted to see how well they helped team members understand one another better. Would they help us in our training of new cross-cultural workers? But I have to admit a big part of my motivation was just my innate curiosity to understand myself better. Shortcomings of personality assessments Each of these assessments has their strengths. I have learned something from each of them about how I am wired. They have helped me to understand the challenges I face in working with colleagues of different personalities. But none of the ones above helped me understand what specific personalities / strengths are needed on a team. How do the different personalities… Read the whole post
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