Let’s start with the obvious—patronage has a P.R. problem. For many people, patronage seems like nepotism, corruption, colonialism, and the mafia! The phrase “biblical patronage” sounds like an oxymoron. Although patron-client relationships are often corrupted and broken, I propose that …

How to Make Patronage “Biblical” Read more »

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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 …

Giving Indirect Advice (A Folktale) Read more »

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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 …

4 Benefits of Learning about Honor & Shame Read more »

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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 …

INFOGRAPHIC: How Cultures Clash Read more »

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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 …

6 Keys for Relationships in Honor-Shame Cultures Read more »

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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 …

5 Lessons I Learned From Being a Terrible Patron Read more »

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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 …

How Honor-Shame Cultures Confess Sins Read more »

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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 …

An Answer for Addiction Read more »

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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 …

3 Ways To Apply Restorative Justice Read more »

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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 …

5 Shameful Things Westerners Say Read more »

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