I quickly found out when writing my dissertation that Westerners have very little grasp for concepts like honor, shame, and face. Today, I begin to address this problem. Future posts will hopefully shed a little better light in the matter.
Westerner really don’t “get” honor and shame. This is really unfortunate for multiple reasons.
1. These are human ideas, not merely eastern or medieval notions.
2. The Bible is saturated with honor-shame language. To understand so much of Scripture, one has to get a hold of what these words mean.
3. Cross-cultural ministry will not only be hindered but even harmed by overlooking the central role of honor-shame in cultures around the world.
- “Honor” is just something related to medieval knights or else the thing that causes suicide bombers.
- Shame is a serous psychological problem to be gotten rid of.
- “Face” is an Asian thing that basically boils down to sinful pride.
In future posts, I’ll try to succinct unpack these ideas.
I’m curious to hear what you think? Agree? Disagree? Would you add anything?