Friday, December 19, 2008

Trains, Personal Space, and Mission

Wherever this is (Asia somewhere apparently), they clearly have very different cultural norms of personal space than we do in America. How nice of the porters to help everyone cram in, though.

Question: What cultural differences (in a place you've either been to or heard about) have seemed most strange to you? Have you gotten over the culture shock to realize how arbitrary some of the things we take for granted are? For instance, I would not want to ride on this train. But our American sense of inviolable personal space is why we all drive planet-killing SUV-tanks instead of carpooling in smaller, more efficient cars, or (horrors!) taking public transportation.

How do we live out the gospel in places or cultures that seem so alien to us? (This doesn't have to be another country; crossing generational, regional, racial, and political lines can be just as difficult.) If the earliest Christians could do it (nearly all Jews who were taught from birth not to mingle with other cultures or people), surely those of us from the American melting pot should be able to, right?

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