A 'need to read' book
January 19 2001 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

A 'need to read' book | Friday, Jan. 19, 2001

Friday, Jan. 19, 2001

A 'need to read' book

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor Sarah Lanier was a friend and classmate of mine at the University of Georgia many moons ago. Sarah grew up as the child of Southern Baptist missionaries in Israel. Early on, she wanted to devote her life to helping missionary families. She has spent most of her career with Youth With a Mission (YWAM), an international, interdenominational missions organization that has 15,000 full-time missionaries at work in our world. Sarah now travels the world as a consultant, and one of the things she does best is to help people of different cultures understand each other. In a new book, Foreign to Familiar: A Guide to Understanding Hot- and Cold-Climate Cultures, Sarah translates a lifetime of international living experience into an easy to read primer for understanding cultural differences. Her distinction between hot- and cold-climate cultures includes allowances for ethnic origin as well as for geography. Israel's population, for example, includes "cold-climate" immigrants from Europe along with "hot-climate" peoples indigenous to the Middle-East.

The basic distinction is that hot-climate cultures focus on establishing and maintaining relationships, often through indirect means of communication, while cold-climate cultures tend to be task-oriented and direct. The book demonstrates how this dichotomy plays out through tendencies toward direct or indirect communication, individualism or group identity, and the relative values of inclusion or privacy.

The book also explains differences between "high-context," or formal, cultures that have long-standing traditions, and "low-context" cultures that have less history and thus a more informal approach to relationships.

Cultural conditioning leads to differing concepts of hospitality, time and planning that offer distinct challenges to those who want to forge good relationships with peoples from various ethnic or geographical backgrounds.

Understanding cultural differences is important for Christian witnesses, who may have trouble "connecting" or even cause unwanted offense when unaware of societal taboos or customs in a given culture.

The book is inexpensive and would be an ideal text for a mission or study group.

Every volunteer who works with international people in the United States or who plans an overseas missions endeavor would benefit from a careful reading of Foreign to Familiar.

For more information, contact McDougal Publishing at (800) 962-3684.

(EDITOR'S NOTE-Watching my weight? It's 213. A reminder: Jan. 31 is the deadline to guess when I'll reach my goal of 195. Closest entry wins a Biblical Recorder shirt.

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
1/19/2001 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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