Blog Archives

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

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

4 Benefits of Learning about Honor & Shame

Why learn about honor and shame? Here are four benefits.1. HermeneuticsI once saw a Turkish person read Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son (Lk 15). He read the opening verse about the son asking for his inheritance, closed the Bible, and declared, “That
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Posted in Bible, Communication, Honor, Relationships, Resources, Shame, Spirituality, Theology

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

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

5 Lessons I Learned From Being a Terrible Patron

Rich (B.Th) has worked in the Arab world for 6 years and is researching patronage in Arabic language, culture and theology.Arabs look to community leaders to help them, including managers, fathers, businessmen, celebrities and teachers. My university students expected me to
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Posted in Culture, Evangelism, Honor, Relationships

How Honor-Shame Cultures Confess Sins

How should people confess their sin? What form should confession take?I was raised Catholic, so the the word “confession” means reliving those experiences as a mischievous little boy shuddering in a confessional booth saying, “Forgive me father for I have
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Posted in Communication, Culture, Ministry, Missiology, Relationships, Shame, Spirituality, Theology

An Answer for Addiction

What is addiction? How is addiction healed? This new TED talk—“Everything You Think You Know About Addiction is Wrong”—connects these questions about addiction to shame and honor (granted, it uses language besides “honor” and “shame” to do so). Research shows
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Posted in Communication, Culture, Honor, Ministry, Missiology, Relationships, Resources, Shame, Sin, Spirituality

How Dignity Resolves Conflict

“Our desire for connection is deep in our genes. We are living in a false state of alienation. The quality of our lives and our relationships could be vastly improved if we learned how to master the art and science
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Posted in Culture, Honor, Ministry, Missiology, Relationships, Shame

3 Ways To Apply Restorative Justice

Our previous post introduced the idea of restorative justice. Here are three applications of restorative justice. 1-Cross-Cultural Relationships Here is a common scenario Western missionaries face: When I confronted a national believer over the problem of _________, he felt shamed and
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Posted in Honor, Ministry, Missiology, Relationships

5 Shameful Things Westerners Say

Readers enjoyed Colin E. Andrew’s earlier post “5 Rude Things Honor-Shame Cultures Say.” In this post, he turns the tables. Here are 5 “rude” things Westerners say, even when trying to be polite.1. “My friend!” “Hey Rafshan! This is my friend
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Posted in Communication, Culture, Ministry, Relationships, Shame

5 Rude Things Honor-Shame Cultures Say

Guest Colin E. Andrews has lived in Central Asia for 10 years and Southeast Asia for 4 years. Every culture has unwritten rules about what is rude and what is polite.  Conflict in cross-cultural communication happens when two cultures have a
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Posted in Communication, Culture, Relationships

How (Not) To Guest Well

Over the last year, our family has become friends with a refugee family from Russia (they are ethnically Central Asian, but lived in Moscow 10+ years and recently were resettled in Atlanta). Knowing that New Year’s is a huge Russian
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Posted in Culture, Ministry, Relationships, Shame

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