Culture clashes give us a chance to learn and be patient.
When you grow up in a certain culture you often come to conclusions
that yours is the right culture. You grow up calling vegetables a
certain name, items of clothing have unique labels, times of the day,
pronunciation of the words, what is and isn’t polite are trained
into you from birth. Most of the world finds themselves staying in
that culture the rest of their lives. Deeply ingrained into them are
the manners and social rules of their culture, and they learn them well.
There is an interesting happening when two cultures, deeply ingrained
into individuals meet and begin to clash. Their truths don’t mesh,
their differences begin subtly but then become a loud roar that
threatens to murder any chance at friendship.
I have lived with Americans for a lot of my life. My Dad, being a
pastor for 30 years, invited many a missionary team from American
universities. Looking up to these amazing Godly individuals I would
occasionally take on a subtle American accent. And the shock and
embarrassment of the moments where it came out in conversation was
almost unbearable. Australians aren’t the biggest fan of other
cultures changing theirs, even though we are quite a multi-cultural
nation. We like who we are. We are patriotic but only to the extent
of getting southern cross tattoos. We still don’t know the words to
the national anthem.
So when I moved into a house of both Americans, Canadians, islanders,
and Europeans the culture clashes began getting a lot more frequent. You
would be chatting with a European and they would say something
horrifically blunt as if they gently affirmed you. Americans would
violently begin arguments about how they speak English and Hawaiians
would “borrow” all your clothes and you would never see them again. I
speak tongue and cheek to illustrate that God celebrates culture. God
celebrates creativity and unique abilities to live life in community.
Culture clashes give us a chance to learn and be patient. Culture
clashes like marriage makes us more holy, crafting us into people who
celebrate others even in disagreement. I can agree that color is
indeed an easier way to spell that word. But the English language
dictates that is spelled colour.
On a Discipleship Training School and living life in missions you are
living mostly in cultures that are not your own. You ware walking into
communities that have their own social rules. And we can learn how to
adapt and celebrate or we can continue in being an outsider alienating
people in their own space. God’s heart is that we are hospitable, that
we make space even in other people’s spaces for them.
But further more, the kingdom of God has a culture of its own that can
be produced in and through any culture on the planet. Christ the
ultimate redeemer, justifies all.