Chapters 3&4


These chapters are about time and judgement. Man there is a lot in these chapters! This supposed to be the easy book!
The conclusion of each are that we need to remember that the way we, ourselves, see things, is not the only right way. We need to remember to focus on learning what the culture we are wishing to immerse ourselves in does and set aside our societal norms or ways of viewing time and judgement.
Time. This is the one we all think about when contemplating cross-cultural ministry. We know that time is SUCH a different thing in each culture. But how do we overcome that hurdle? First, I don’t think we realize how deep this runs. It’s not just that things don’t start on time but often a more “event” driven culture will not even place value on historical dates. Maybe they don’t keep track of birth dates or anniversaries. This is just something I hadn’t considered. Sure, it may be because they don’t really follow a traditional calendar but it’s also because that is not the important thing. Remembering the exact date. Instead, they may know the exact order of birth of everyone in the village. Time is such a fluid thing. Yet, we as Americans allow ourselves to be bound by it or driven by it.
An event-driven culture will find the joy or value in anything that happens. An event may not begin on time or end on time but they will have built relationships or taken care of a neighbor during the interval. This doesn’t make that culture correct and a time driven culture wrong. “No culture has God’s priorities.” It’s so easy for me to see the faults in my own society but no one gets it 100% right or wrong. That’s important for me to remember. “time is a gift from God, and His priorities can always be fulfilled in the amount of time we have been given…God is lavish with His gifts, so that there is always enough time to do what Jesus calls us to do.” God’s priorities are neither driven by time or event but His own will and He will give us the time and opportunity to do His will if we really listen.
Chapter 4 focused on different ways of thinking. Mayers calls them dichotomistic vs holistic. Dichotomistic = linear, black and white, specifically ordered. Holistic = Big picture, sum not parts. This is often the difference between judging someone based on one specific behavior vs judging someone based on their entire life. “Dichotomistic thinkers tend to categorize people into specific roles. Once a person is labeled, the label defines his or her character and place….Holistic thinkers, in contrast, tend to withhold both approval and disapproval. They are somewhat suspicious of people who appear faultless and are more tentative about condemning the faulty.”
In this chapter he also discusses how Jesus “mastered the content of Jewish life and culture.” He used His understanding to reach people where they were. If they were holistic thinkers, He used parables and object lessons to explain heavenly truths. When speaking to more dichotomistic thinkers, he reasoned scripture in a more linear fashion.
So, what does this mean? Learn your culture. Don’t try to make it fit your background and societal norms. Learn your new norms and ways of thinking and reach people where they are.

One Response to “Chapters 3&4”

  1. G said

    I meant that this was a easier book to read, not that it wouldn’t challenge you. Read on!

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