Category: Culture

post related to cultural understanding of honor-shame

A Gospel Narrative for the Shame-Honor Culture of India

Jay Dharan (M.Div, Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary) is a Bible-teacher ministering in India. He desires to foster an indigenous Christianity that addresses the honor-shame culture of India. In India, the shame-honor culture is deeply rooted in the caste system, which
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Article: “Why We Dislike Shame”

The American Interest has published an article “Why We Dislike Shame—and Can’t Get Enough of It.” The article examines why shaming is essential in America today, and offers some suggestions for curbing its excesses. I commend the article for its clarity, balance,
Posted in Culture, ethics

My Response to a Critique

The academic journal Missiology recently published a critique of honor-shame, especially my book The 3D Gospel. The article is entitled “The Culture Problem: How the Honor/Shame Issue Got the Wrong End of the Anthropological Stick”, by Johannes Merz (PhD), an
Posted in Culture

Coronavirus in Shame Contexts

A recent NYT article “Stigma Hampers Iraqi Efforts to Fight the Coronovirus” examines how the dynamics of shame are affecting Iraq during this pandemic. This article is a fresh reminder of how pervasive and influential the power of shame is
Posted in Culture, News

Fame-Shame Culture and Social Media

Guest Ally McGeever is the Young Women’s Engagement and Development Officer in Dublin, Ireland. This post summarizes her recent presentation as the Irish Bible Institute.  How is fame different to honor? Both are defined by what others think of you, but fame
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Shame is “Difference”

Shame is being different. We feel ashamed when we feel unlike others. I know it sounds simple and even trite, but this insight summarizes our experience of shame in some profound ways. Feeling Different, Being Unlike Our differences make us
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$$ Infographic: 7 Differences in Global Cultures

Patronage frustrates many people, especially Westerners. Why is patronage so frustrating? Fundamental cultural differences between patronage and Western economics create an inevitable cultural clash. Each cultural system is like a rulebook for playing a board game. Each player assumes others will
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What is “Patronage”? A Definition

What actually is “patronage?” This is a common, and good, question. Patronage is hard to define because it is an abstract concept. “Patronage,” as well as “patron-client relationships,” is an etic term that social scientists use for describing relationships in
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My Attempts to Visualize Honor & Shame

I use mostly words to explain honor and shame. I write out my ideas in books, articles, and blogposts. I regret not being more artistic, because honor and shame can also be powerfully communicated visually. On a few occasions, I’ve
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Not Taking Revenge (Ajith Fernando)

Ajith Fernando (ThM, Fuller) serves as the teaching director of Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka. This post is from his latest book, Discipling in A Multicultural World (Crossway, 2019), which has a strong focus on practical discipleship in honor-shame oriented cultures. This excerpt
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Biblically, What Is Your ‘Name’?

Author and teacher Lois Tvarberg is co-founder of the En-Gedi Resource Center. This post is adapted from her recent book, Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus  International communications trainer Sarah Lanier has traveled the globe to teach about cultural differences. In
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“Patronage”: A Quick Definition

For the upcoming Patronage Symposium we developed this document “Patronage—A Quick Definitions Sheet.” Since “What exactly is patronage?” was a common question that people asked in the patronage survey, I figured this resource would be worth sharing more broadly.  Introduction This
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Honor Is Not One Dimensional

Rich Y. (B.Th) has worked in the Arab world for eight years. When I was new to the Arab world, I used to have a one-dimensional view of “honor” and a stock approach to discipleship with Arabs—“Those who exalt themselves
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4 Practical Ways To Use The Culture Test

Since being released in late 2014, people have found creative and strategic uses for The Culture Test. The following four stories shows areas where an awareness of guilt-shame-fear dynamics can be beneficial. 1. Theological Apologetics Martin was a Kenyan Christian
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Patronage Survey: Your Results

How do people Christian workers understand and engage patronage? Because 378 people completed the short patronage survey we now have a better idea of how people perceive patronage. This blog posts presents my summary of the data for the broader missions community. I
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Is Africa ‘Power-Fear’ or ‘Honor-Shame’?

People often assume Africa is a “fear-power” culture. The animistic and magical practices of African Traditional Religions (ATRs) reflect the values of fear-power. Although Africa ranks higher in the fear-power category than other regions of the world according to The
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A Fourth Category of ‘Pain-Pleasure’?

Along with guilt-innocence, shame-honor, and fear-power, should there be a fourth category of “pain-pleasure”? This post considers the merit of this idea. The Idea of Pain-Pleasure Philosophers have long considered the feelings of pain and pleasure to be part of
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The Meaning of ‘Fear-Power’—3 Options

The label “fear-power culture” has various meanings, depending on the perspective of the speaker. This posts explains the three ways people have defined “fear-power culture.” 1. Religious: Fear-Power as Spiritual Control The worldviews of Majority World cultures, especially tribal religions,
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The Model of Guilt-Shame-Fear—A Short History

The idea of “guilt vs. shame” has a long history in 20th-century scholarship (see previous post). But how did the cultural model of guilt-shame-fear develop? Here is a super short history of the cultural trichotomony.  In 1954, Christian anthropologist and
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The Meaning of ‘Shame’—A Short History

Where do these categories of “guilt-shame” or “shame-honor” come from? Like all ideas, the notion of “shame” has developed over time. This post summarizes the main currents of shame research in the 20th century. The Beginning: Ruth Benedict The binary
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