Автор: Jim Thomas
A good cross-cultural partnership is like a good conversation. The topic is less important than whether each person can play both roles well in the conversation. Each needs to be both a good listener and a good communicator. Good listeners are rare. Most often people care about being heard rather than listening. What are the marks of a good listener?
A good conversationalist, however, is not someone who only listens and says nothing. To do that is to ask the other person to be transparent and vulnerable while you hide in safety behind a wall. In a good conversation, both people step out into the open. Both share feelings that the listener may not affirm or understand. Both share incomplete thoughts that may be misunderstood. What, then, are the marks of a good communicator?
Good cross-cultural church partnerships involve these same skills, but at a higher level because of the cultural differences. For example, in a relationship between an American and a Ugandan church, I may find it harder to be fully present with a Ugandan friend from a rural village than with a fellow American who is accustomed to multi-tasking. And I may need more patience and persistence to communicate in a way that he is culturally accustomed to.
Each of these skills is important, but I want to highlight one of them: not seeking to change the other without seeking to be changed oneself. A common alternative to cross-cultural partnership is paternalism in which one church (often from a wealthier country) seeks to improve or work through another church (often in a resource-poor setting). Perhaps money is given to accomplish a project, or experts are sent to provide training. These relationships often entail task-oriented conversations, where one participant is expected to change more than the other. Only when we both come to the relationship as broken and see the other as God’s agent in our lives can we move to a relationship where the Holy Spirit is truly free to bring change.
What have I missed in this description of a good conversation? What would you add?
(Painting entitled "Oracle" by Amal Ghosh)
Ключевые слова: cross-cultural