I'm a wife, a mom, a friend, a daughter, a sister and a follower of Jesus who is learning how to love God and people better. Scroll down to take a look at some of my adventures!

10.17.2008

Cross-Cultural Connections

This is one of the most down-to earth, easy-to-read, but highly enlightening book on cross-cultural experiences that I have ever read. Okay, so granted I haven’t read THAT many, but I’ve started quite a few. ☺

Cross-Cultural Connections is by an international studies professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School named Duane Elmer. From what I can gather, Duane and his family have spent many years living and ministering overseas. Currently he does a lot of cross-cultural training for Fortune 500 companies, relief and development agencies, churches, and schools. I’m thankful to Denise, Jake’s mom, for giving us to this as a last minute packing item (we got it in the hotel the night before we left), and I’m thankful to Jeff, pastor of First Baptist Potosi, who said that we had to read this book.

The book is divided into 21 chapters—each short and concise, ending with some reflection and discussion questions. This aspect would make this book a great one for a short-term missions leader to take their team through before heading to a new country.

My favorite section was about cultural differences that confuse. Topics that this section covered were: time and event, task and relationship, individualism and collectivism, categorical and holistic thinking, logic, achieved and ascribed status, guilt and shame, and worship expression. I’ve realized that the new culture we are in is pretty much the opposite of everything the west is. But actually, it seems like most places are. ☺

We have dealt with several of these cultural tensions already since arriving. Well, moreso the American students than myself. I just get to hear about it at Taco Night (haha, our debriefing time). Anyway, I think that I’ll hopefully have some good things to share the next time the various issues come up.

I think that anyone who hangs out with or works with or teaches international students would do well to read this book. Elmer really encourages the reader to drop their judgmental responses to cultural differences, and just try to understand. And of course he says this is a really fatherly, mentor-y way that makes you feel non-defensive and encouraged.

2 comments:

Isaac said...

This sounds really good, especially with the work I'm doing right now! I'll definitely look into picking this one up.

denise said...

Hey, I'm glad you like the book. It was actually Bro. Jamie, our new pastor, who sent the book. He spent time in Peru, and Costa Rica I think, and really has a heart for missions.