The Oxford dictionary defines worldview as “a particular philosophy of life or conception of the world.” It’s woven into our assumptions, our biases, and that which we just know to be true in the depths of our soul. Because those values are part of the very fabric of our lives and society, we struggle to separate them from the faith that also defines us. It’s like a filter that tints everything, even the way we read the Bible. Often these predispositions get exposed when we enter another culture and encounter a different way of doing life. Our impulse is to reject that which conflicts with our preferred method.
Consider the “tensions” that arise when we’re exposed to another culture and what those conflicts can teach us about ourselves and our own faith tradition. By examining our blindspots, we learn how to contribute to edifying relationships across cultures in ways that equip all of us to care for the vulnerable to the glory of God.
In this second article, Peter Adam writes, “One danger for ministers is that we imagine that everyone else is just like us and treat them accordingly. We need to be in the business of conforming people to Christ, not to ourselves!” As you read this article published on The Gospel Coalition Australia, think about how crucial cultural awareness becomes when a nonprofit organization chooses to partner directly with local leaders from other continents. For us, this distinctive means collaboration will always require cross-cultural communication.
- We all have a tendency to assume our footing is culturally neutral. We take the role of an impartial observer, unaware that our own perspective is deeply en-cultured. How do you think we increase awareness of our own cultural presets so that we recognize the difference between “bad” and “different”?
- How do we bring the best of what our culture offers to the table while humbly recognizing the strengths and values that other cultures offer?
- While we acknowledge that we often confuse what is cultural and biblical, the gospel ultimately does transform culture. It might just look differently than we imagined. Think of an example from your home culture of something that needs to be transformed by the gospel.
- When we disciple someone from another culture, how do we ensure that we are mutually made into the image of Christ together instead of shaping him into our own image?