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 …

Biblically, What Is Your ‘Name’? Read more »

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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 …

4 Practical Ways To Use The Culture Test Read more »

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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 …

Is Africa ‘Power-Fear’ or ‘Honor-Shame’? Read more »

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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, …

The Meaning of ‘Fear-Power’—3 Options Read more »

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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 …

The Model of Guilt-Shame-Fear—A Short History Read more »

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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 …

The Meaning of ‘Shame’—A Short History Read more »

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There are many models that explain how global cultures differ. They all simplify reality in different ways. This post shows how the guilt-shame-fear paradigm compares to other well-known cultural models. 1. Hofstede’s 6 Dimensions An organizational anthropologist named Geert Hoftstede …

Guilt-Shame-Fear & Other Cultural Models Read more »

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People often voice the concern that reducing cultures down to “guilt,” “shame,” or “fear” is oversimplifying reality—“Aren’t cultures a combination of these factors?” Most certainly. Cultures are too complex to be isolated into just three boxes. These are not three …

3 In 1: Integrating Guilt, Shame, and Fear Read more »

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Western theologians and missionaries often assume that “guilt-based” morality is ethically superior. This, I believe, is a dangerous assumption. A guilt-based approach to ethics has several shortcomings that limit its moral effectiveness, particularly in collectivistic contexts. These limitations do not …

4 Problems with Guilt-Based Morality Read more »

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All Bible translations face a problem—the cultural gap between the Bible and contemporary readers. English words evoke Western assumptions and values that are unlike those of biblical writers. The word “grace” (Greek: charis) is a good example of this problem of …

The Problem of “Grace” in English Bibles Read more »

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When I wrote The 3D Gospel and developed www.TheCultureTest.com in 2014, I thought that the concept of guilt/shame/fear cultures was unique to Christian missiology. But recently, I encountered a very similar cultural model by a secular psychologist. Richard Shweder is a …

Guilt, Shame, and Fear in Secular Research Read more »

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The post is adapted from chapter #3 of  The Bridge to Racial Unity: Discussion Guide 2.0 from Be the Bridge ministries. A personal awareness of racism and racial injustice can generate uncomfortable feelings of shame and guilt. In America’s individualistic …

Shame and Guilt in Racial Reconciliation Read more »

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