April 11, 2018

The principle of lex talionis [“eye for eye, tooth for tooth”] is deeply etched on what remains of the Western conscience. Because people do not know the honor-shame dynamics of the ancient world, a problem hangs over how most people understand this biblical principle. Read more

April 4, 2018

Cru recently released an evangelism tract called “Honor Restored.” This new tool offers people an alternative to The Four Spiritual Laws. For people who live in honor-shame contexts, this presentation will make more sense. You can find the tract on Cru’s evangelism app, GodTools. Download it from Apple’s App store  at Google Play.  So far, Honor Restored is translated into Arabic, Croatian, English, Hindi, Persian, Portuguese, and Turkish. It is also in the process of being translated into other languages, including Mandarin. Why I like… Read more

March 29, 2018

I recently read the memoir Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup, published in 1853 by a man kidnapped from the North and forced into slavery for 12 years. A movie of the same name was released a few years ago. On page 89–90, he tells us about his first master, William Ford. His description is breathtaking. I’ve included the passage below, adding a few summary headings to make it easier to follow his eloquent exposition. I’ve italicized a… Read more

March 28, 2018

I watched The Greatest Showman twice in one week. It is one of the most extraordinary movies I’ve seen in a while (though Wonder deserves mention as well). The second time I saw it, I was overwhelmed by the way honor and shame shape the entire narrative. The Greatest Show of Shame While I’ll try to limit spoilers, I make no promises. The Greatest Showman loosely tells the story of P.T. Barnum (played by Hugh Jackman), the founder of history’s… Read more

March 21, 2018

This most recent issue of ChinaSource Quarterly is dedicated to the topic of contextualization. I had the privilege to be the guest editor for this issue. The articles survey a range of topics relevant to contextualization among Chinese. You’ll want to see these articles! Collectively, these contributors demonstrate the significance of contextualization for China. Whereas conversations on the topic often do not go far enough, these writers illustrate how Chinese Christians understand contextualization how contextualization shapes mission practice in China… Read more

March 20, 2018

Louis Chew offers helpful insight in his recent article “The Pursuit Of Status: How To Avoid Chasing The Wrong Things.” Seeking “face” can get expensive. Chew writes, As it turns out, Diderot was spot on about how material possessions become intertwined with our identity. The wealthier we get, the more things become a form of self-expression. We no longer buy shirts and shorts for the cloth that covers our skin but also to reflect our tastes and social standing. Geoffrey Miller,… Read more

March 14, 2018

An article recently came to my attention with a very simple claim. J. Brennan, who serves with the IMB and South Asia, makes this argument: “Seminary education can be a useful means of preparing missionaries, but it’s not a necessary means of doing so.” Brennen’s comments are disturbing for a few reasons. Why? They are unclear and potentially even misleading. What else is “not necessary”? The two keywords that need explanation are “necessary” and “seminary.” Below, I will address the… Read more

March 7, 2018

This guest post by Robert Strauss is Part 3 of 3 in the series introducing his book “Introducing Story-Strategic Methods” Part 2 ends with “bad theology”. Throughout the global mission community, storytelling has supplanted topical teaching. The advent of storytelling worked. Communication improved. But cross-cultural challenges remained. Abrupt entry into a culture is still a mistake, whether to outline topics or tell stories. Towards Strategic Storytelling Not knowing the local history and its accompanying stories as one tells a rival… Read more

March 1, 2018

Over at Radius International, Sam Trumball rightly observes how people incorrectly define contextualization. Trumball begins by stating, Pinning down exactly what they mean by contextualization, however, often proves elusive. Usually, the answer involves ministry strategies developed by successful missionaries.[1] There are two reasons why previously successful strategies should not stand alone to define contextualization. First, strategy is only part of contextualization. Second, specific strategies should be developed only after language and culture have been learned. I’d like to highlight and… Read more

February 27, 2018

This guest post by Robert Strauss is Part 2 of 3 in the series introducing his book “Introducing Story-Strategic Methods” Part 1 tells a remarkable story from Morocco about an incident on a train bound for Marrakesh. There is more to the story. In his Prologue, Reza Aslan (2011) tells part of it, including a bitter history throughout the region that not all understand, especially those coming in from the outside. Malcolm and Jennifer, the American couple on the train,… Read more

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