Blog Archives

Super Duper “Unashamed”

Last year Christian publishers released 4 books titled “Unashamed.” These are Christian efforts to speak to a popular topic in Western culture—the longing to be free of shame and to “be myself.”  While inspiring and encouraging, these books assume the distorted, Western
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Posted in Culture, ethics, Resources, salvation, Shame, Spirituality, Theology, Wesetern

A Better Definition of Honor-Shame Cultures—”Connection”

How might we define “honor-shame cultures”? Many people implicitly associate “honor-shame culture” with “violence.” Westerners perceive honor-shame cultures as aggressive and combative. This reason (proposed in my prior post) is because the Western mind perceives honor-based violence as “senseless” and “incomprehensible,” unlike the
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Posted in Culture, Honor, Relationships, Shame

A Western Bias: “Honor-Shame Cultures are Violent”

“Cultures of honor and shame are violent.” This common assumption is a myth rooted in a pejorative cultural bias. Westerners often define honor-shame cultures by their violent retaliation against personal slights. People in honor-shame cultures are sensitive about their reputation,
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Posted in Culture, Honor, Shame, Wesetern

New Training Video about Ethics and Discipleship

“Transforming Honor” is a new training video about biblical ethics, morality, and discipleship in honor-shame cultures. My aim with this video is to (1) transform Western misconceptions about honor cultures and (2) transform honor into a positive source for moral change. The 33-minute resource is
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Posted in Communication, Culture, ethics, Honor, Ministry, Missiology, Resources, Spirituality, Wesetern

Stetzer, Moreau, & Kärkkäinen at the Honor-Shame Conference

Three leading missiologists will join us at the Honor-Shame Conference (June 19-21) at Wheaton. Ed Stetzer is the Billy Graham Professor of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College, Executive Director of the Billy Graham School of Evangelism, and blogs at The Exchange
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Posted in Communication, Culture

Giving Indirect Advice (A Folktale)

A great way to acquire wisdom for cross-cultural wisdom is to watch the wise. I’m always amazed by Central Asians who handle problems with cultural savvy—they can influence people in such honoring ways. Unfortunately, Westerners often struggle to navigate thorny issues in
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Posted in Culture, Relationships, Resources

5 Reasons the West is Becoming More Shame Based

“Young people these days are becoming more shame based.” The previous post showed how data from TheCultureTest.com collaborates this common observation. But this observation naturally evokes the “why?” question. Why is Western culture becoming more shame based? Here I identify are
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Posted in Culture, Honor, Shame, Wesetern

The Rise of Shame in America

Younger people in the West are becoming more sensitive to shame.Western culture as a whole, not just particular segments, appears to be shifting from guilt and toward shame. The Christianity Today cover article “The Return of Shame” noted how “shame is
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Posted in Culture, Honor, Shame, Wesetern

Microaggressions and “Reverse Honor”: America’s Latest Moral System

A new moral system has emerged in America. It is shaped by the language of privilege, class, bias, inequality, tolerance, and inclusion. This new moral system has taken definitive expression in the issue of microaggressions.Microaggressions are “brief, everyday exchanges that
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Posted in Culture, Honor, Shame, Wesetern

Guilt-Innocence Cultures are WEIRD

Guilt-innocence cultures are W.E.I.R.D.—Western, Education, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic.In 2010, three cultural psychologists published an article titled “The Weirdest People in the World?” The authors explain that most psychological research in conducted on a small, unrepresentative subset of human population—W.E.I.R.D people.The
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Posted in Culture, ethics, Shame

The 5 (Unwritten) Rules of Honor-Shame Cultures

During my years in Central Asia, I always dreaded being pulled over by a policeman. No matter how much I tried to demonstrate my innocence according to all the traffic rules, the officer usually showed little interest in concepts like
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Posted in Communication, Culture, ethics, Resources

Honor & Patronage Among Church Leaders

Patricia Toland (Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies, Biola University) has served in Africa and Latin America since 1990 mobilizing the Latino church and training Latino Missionaries. She also lectures, trains, and ministers internationally to missionaries on the field and in universities.Church
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Posted in Communication, Culture, leadership, Ministry

Cashmere­—The Kyrgyz Honor

Sy Belohlavek, director of June Cashmere, explains how honor frames the vision and structure of an enterprise in Kyrgyzstan.   Recognition is the acknowledgement of someone’s existence and validity. This honor is acclaim for an achievement or ability. There is a kind
Posted in Culture, Ministry, Relationships, Resources

INFOGRAPHIC: How Cultures Clash

We all judge other people cultures according to our own cultural values. This is fine when two people share the same culture. But when people from two different cultures interact, using your own culture to judge others can be disastrous.The cultures of
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Posted in Communication, Culture, ethics, Relationships, Resources

How Christians Should Vote

Are you a “values-voter”? Well, so is everyone else! We all vote according to “values.” The real issue is—What values should determine your vote? As Christians head to the polls on Tuesday, honor should be a leading value in how they
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Posted in Culture, News

6 Keys for Relationships in Honor-Shame Cultures

For people to understand, you must speak their language. Obvious, huh?But most Westerners ignore this basic rule of communication in their cross-cultural relationships. To meaningfully communicate love and honor to people, we must use the cultural “grammar” of honor-shame in
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Posted in Communication, Culture, ethics, Ministry, Relationships, Resources

Honor & Patronage Among Church Leaders

Patricia Toland (Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies, Biola University) has served in Africa and Latin America since 1990 mobilizing the Latino church and training Latino Missionaries. She also lectures, trains, and ministers internationally to missionaries on the field and in universities.
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Posted in Bible, Culture, ethics, Honor, leadership, Ministry, Relationships

3 Tips for Evangelism in Honor-Shame Cultures

A conversation with a young Central Asian Muslim changed my theology forever.We were having a conversation about God, and there was an open door to share the gospel, so I said something like, “Your sins make you guilty before God,
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Posted in Culture, Evangelism, Jesus, Ministry, Missiology, Relationships, Theology

12 Proven Facts about Honor Cultures

Here are 12 claims about honor cultures from Honor Bound: How a Cultural Ideal Has Shaped the American Psyche (Oxford University Press, 2016) by Ryan Brown, professor of social psychology at the University of Oklahoma.In honor cultures, “men are hyper
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Posted in Culture, ethics, In The News, Resources, Shame

The 3 Kinds of Honor

The three types of honor are bad honor, good honor, and eternal honor. People use the same word “honor” for all three, and this causes confusion. Failing to note the three kinds of honor affects our discipleship and theology. So here
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Posted in Communication, Culture, Evangelism, Honor, Theology

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