Week 3: Introduction to Culture Specific Evangelism (part 3) September 28-October 4


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    Jim Woo

    I have problems finding the pictures. There are no pictures on the referred pages in my book. Maybe mine is not an official one?

    • Linda Grimms

      Jim – I found the pictures at different places toward the back of the book. Pages 72, 77 & 81 – in my book.

    • Jim Woo

      Thank you! I continued reading and guessed the optical illusion. Perhaps because I’m a peacemaker, I was drawn to these as a child. So I actually saw both before (as well as others with double images). In my boot camp from God, He has been training me to first notice that there are other viewpoints, and now has been training me to see things from other’s viewpoints. I have a lot to learn!

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    Reflections on week 3

    Linda Grimms

    I have found the overall message of The Cross-Cultural Evangelism Game book to offer powerful and thoughtful perspectives on cultural differences — differences that we may not be able to see. Applied to cross-cultural evangelism, it reminds me of the vital importance of learning to see and to appreciate the differences.

    One of my favorite hymns — A Song of Peace, or also known as Finlandia — expresses that same perspective. It says that however wonderful I find my place & my home, people in other lands and cultures also see their place & home as wonderful also. Other peoples have hopes and dreams that are as true and high as mine – even as they worship Jesus in their own places. That song is particularly memorable to me because I learned it as part of Christian worship in Ramallah, Palestine — the favorite hymn of a Christian Palestinian American man who loved his land and his people, and believed that all people loved their culture, their places, their dreams equally.

    Acknowledging that I have much to learn about Japanese culture, especially how the gospel and Japanese culture intersect in ways that I cannot “see” or honor rightly, my question becomes: how can I learn? I can I come to understand how God has been working among the Japanese people and in their culture in ways that might help me communicate the gospel in ways that they might understand. And, in my case, how can I learn to pray with and for them?

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    Esha: CSE101: Week 3


    The Cross cultural evangelism game #2 was very helpful in understanding how all of us see world around us through our dominant cultural eye. The culture we grew up in can makes a huge difference in how we relate to people, how we communicate and how we understand faith.

    I lived in India for 21 years before coming to the US. In India we don’t say words like “thank you”, “excuse me”, “sorry” or “please” a lot. These words mean their literal meaning in my native language and therefore carry a much heavier weight than they would in the US. As for example, you don’t say “thank you” a lot in Indian culture. It seems fake. Instead gratitude is expressed thru reciprocal actions. Same goes with “please” and “sorry”. Indian culture tends not to overuse these words. The word “please” carries a lot of heavy weight, so one uses it in situations like requesting a doctor to help with a painful back or borrowing money in difficult financial crises.; not for requesting to pass salad bowl from one side of the table to the other. These are just a few examples of how an Indian like myself can be misunderstood here in the US for not saying proper “thanks”.

    On other side of the spectrum, I have misunderstood people here because I saw the circumstances with my cultural eye. As for example, when I went to my friend’s house, she told me to “feel at home and get anything I want from the refrigerator”. While she was being super nice to me, this was not a social norm or proper guest etiquette for my culture and I felt confused and offended. Now that I have lived 15 years in the US, I feel God has allowed me see both the pictures (the young woman and the old woman) and its helpful to see both good and bad of shame as well as guilt culture and how Jesus came to save us all!

    In the topic of cross cultural evangelism, Catholic church in India has experienced a lot more growth and acceptance among the non-believers, partly because they have integrated culturally relevant worship style. Their songs are more native, with more usage of indigenous music instruments as well as folk style dances and Indian worship equipments. So I can see why many Hindu people would be more comfortable going to the catholic church, as opposed to a protestant church which has accepted a very Western style of worship, adopted hymns and western music instruments.

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    Minako's reflection week 3

    Minako Wilkinson

    Article: “Muslim tribal chief…” This is an amazing story of one person called by God to spread the gospel in the Muslims. I was challenged by his faithfulness to God and His call, risking his life.

    Article: “Living and discipling in the Hindu…” This was very encouraging to see how God used ISM to draw a Hindu student, who turned to Jesus and became a disciple-maker in India. His way of living, his first birth being as a Hindu and his second birth as a son of God contributed a lot to his effectiveness in evangelism in his country.

    The exercises in Cultural Game #2 were amazingly clever to help us realize that we automatically see through our cultural grid, and that our perception is only part of the reality. And what we see we interpret it through our own cultural bias. Sadly we’re prone to think our perception is the only reality. We also have blind spots that our brain compensates. Also while we live and are steeped deeply in our own culture, we can’t see another culture clearly, so in order to understand another culture, we need help from the people of that culture to understand their culture. The picture of the beautiful and wealthy woman and the old poor woman is also great to teach us that we can see the same thing but can interpret it in a different way. I had a similar experience when two white teammates were “arguing,” I, as a team leader, became so nervous and tense trying to resolve their “argument,” only to later realize that they were just having a robust dialogue. From a Japanese female point of view, their exchange seemed like a heated argument.

    This makes me realize that my interpretation/perception of a certain event is biased, and I need to humbly ask God and others to help me.

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    JD's Week 3


    The Evangelism game really makes you think about cultural bias. It’s so helpful to understand, but also to realize we have hidden bias. Being aware that I have bias only reinforces my need to be constantly seeking God’s will and direction.
    The Muslim and Hindi stories are beautiful examples of God’s saving power and grace, and also the power of trusting God. These are also powerful examples of how evangelism doesn’t always look the same, and how God can reach into any culture. We all have a different path to God.

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    Mariko's observations


    We all like to be asked about our own culture, foods, language, and customs. Don’t we also feel appreciated and happy if someone who is not from your country enjoys your foods or tries to speak your language – if it’s even a few words.
    We interact with many students from different nationalities through international ministry in our church. Even though I may not like a particular dish from other country, I make it for the students who miss it. And when they smell or see it, their eyes open wide and most likely, they open their heart as well. Because they feel the love and they know we care for them, our cultural distance shortens quickly. And we can be less prone to quickly judge others. On the contrary, when someone makes a gesture of obvious grossness over your food or your culture, you would feel like you never want to invite that person to your home. In addition, you may not open your heart to that person. In many non-western cultures, honor and respect are highly emphasized and we need to think how we can show respect towards completely different culture than our own.
    I appreciate what game #2 has to say. When we ignore their culture and their way of living and insist on operating in our own way, we may never have a chance to share our lives and the gospel. This reminds me of what Paul said in 1Cor. 9:19-23. Yielding our preferences for the sake of the gospel and examining our heart motives before we say no to certain customs and practices is crucial.

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    Mike's Week 3 Observations - Insider Movement Realities


    This week was interesting and thought provoking. The idea of becoming a follower of Jesus while “remaining a Muslim” or “remaining a Hindu” (or a Buddhist? or a Satanist ? or a Secular Humanist? Or a Communist?) is a controversial one. The idea of contextualization has become a well utilized concept and it is also needed. You don’t have to sit in pews, wear suits and ties and dresses, sing 17th and 18th century European music with an organ accompanying the singing to follow Jesus. The gospel is good news for all peoples at all times. However, sometimes the terminology can be in-precise and lead to some very important confusion about important distinctions. I think you can become a follower of Jesus and remain a Turkish person, or an Indian person, or Saudi, or Japanese and retain my cultural identity. However – can you really be a follower of Jesus and remain a Muslim? If the definition of a Muslim is one who believes that Mohammed was the final prophet and that Isa was just a prophet before Mohammed who did not die on the cross (or rise from the grave) and Mohammed gave us the inspired Book from God – the Koran – but allowed the Old Testament and New Testament to be corrupted. How can I follow Isa who really is the Son of God, the Messiah who died on a cross (didn’t swoon) and whom God the Father (yes there is a Triune Godhead) rose from the dead. Islam and Christianity are not in agreement on who Isa is. I have had friends and co-laborers in Christ tell me that a new follower of Jesus can remain a Muslim, go to the mosque, celebrate Ramadan and the fasting, etc. If I go to the mosque and recite the Shahada – either I am reciting a lie or I am pretending to believe something I no longer do (some people have suggested that a follower of Isa could bow with all the others at a Mosque and recite a prayer to God the Father in Isa’s name. It either would have to be whispered or said silently and seems dishonest. As a Hindu – do I still go to the temples and offer food and money to the idols? As a Japanese person do I still “pray” to the family altar and put food on it daily? Can I really be a Marxist and a follower of Jesus when Marxism declares that there is no God? I remember getting an email from a missionary to Japan excited that there was a man from the United States traveling around Japan telling Buddhist Priests that they could remain Buddhists and follow Jesus. At the surface level, the “insider movements” idea sounds attractive. At the detail level there are many problems with that statement. Buddhism has many concepts about God (there is no Creator God in Buddhism who rules the universe and seeks us out), man’s problem (our rebellion towards God’s rule), and God’s answer to our problem(sending a Savior to redeem us), and how to live a life under God’s rule that are inconsistent with and in some respects the opposite of what the Bible teaches. It can be deceptive or naive to pretend otherwise.

    • Linda Grimms

      Good questions, Mike. Accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior is accompanied by a transformation — regeneration — as we are transferred from the darkness to the kingdom of light, according to Colossians 1:13. We are new persons in Jesus. I certainly agree that the process of being conformed to His likeness — sanctification — is a Spirit-led process as we come to know Jesus better, and that it can take some time as the person spends time in the Word, ideally with opportunity for biblical discipleship. But I concur that the integrity of the insider movements rests on Jesus followers growing closer to Him and showing the fruit of a life-change of faith and trust that He is the only way, the truth and the life.

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    Week 3 Reflection


    This week’s reading was very practical and informative for letting me to see how my worldview was being shaped even I am not aware of it. As many missionaries in the story had misconceptions toward the indigenous culture, I also realized that there are so many bias and prejudice in me watching the differences from other culture. Being communicative is much more influential in spreading the gospel, so we should be aware of how to enter into the differences without distorting the genuine truth of Christianity. People often say that getting out from our comfort zone is very important, and I think we should let our mind also getting out from our comfort ideas and standards, so that we could be more comprehensible to the differences without having any sorts of misconceptions. God loves all human beings and there is no exception. I believe that accepting the equality for the values of each culture comes from the attitude of putting efforts of knowing the differences.

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    week 3 Harumi

    Harumi Butler

    Week 3 comment

    This week’s reading materials helped me a lot. In “Living and Discipling in the Hindu World” it says, ‘He explained to me that he was a Hindu by his first birth and was proud of this heritage which was from God and shows me Acts 17:26, where God is explained as the one who determines where and when we are born.’ God decides in which country and which time you are born, and He wants everyone of us to come to know Him. That means He makes sure to provide everyone to have a chance to be saved. Just like everyone on this earth was created special by God, He has a special way to bring each one of us back to Him. I need to trust that God will give us wisdom to evangelize in different cultures outside of Judeo-Christian world. If we let go of our narrow mindedness first then tap into His wisdom when we face unexpected moments, He will show up and guide us into His way.

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    Harumi Butler

    This is a test. Please remove it when goes through. HB

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    Worship with indigenous peoples

    Linda Grimms

    I was truly blessed by the video of the gathering of indigenous Jesus followers and their worship. Yes and amen to the beautiful voices and movements of these brothers and sisters in Christ!

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    "We're not thinking, 'I'm willing to risk...'"

    Marty Parker

    Kikawa Sensei’s statement in the week three video “We’re not thinking, ‘I’m willing to risk myself so that another person can come to Christ,'” is a beautiful statement about self-concern rather than anothers’ safety. Risk is really active faith.

    I enjoyed these cross-cultural games and they drove the value of culture forward in each instance, creating humility and introspection for one’s own “home culture.” Great job! (Games are wonderful low-risk ways to conceptualize a principle for future application.)

    I did feel, however, that the opening game on pg 18. presented a false dilemma A or B, when there is a third, equally powerful option which I employ in cross cultural witnessing. Listening…

    In stead of either telling a person that Demotu sent his son Jesus or telling them that YHWH is a different God, I would have simply asked a question, “Would you take some time to help me understand who Demotu is? What is Demotu like? etc…” Listening is powerful tool in building trust, this is an opportunity to store up another culture’s theological claims about God while creating relational safety.