Global Humility – Book Recommendation Global Humility is a ‘must read’ book for anyone who is involved in or has an interest in cross-cultural matters. It will particularly help equip those who are church-planting or who live in an ethnically diverse environment. But it is so well researched and written that you will enjoy it even if you do not fall into the above categories.

My own failings…

I have travelled quite widely, and have visited and stayed in the homes of people in widely differing cultures from my own. I thought I had some grasp of cross-cultural matters – until I read this book! Now I have discovered how ignorant I really am – and how many cultural mistakes I have made. …and Andy’s credentials For much of his life Andy McCullough has lived in cultures other than his own inherited culture. This has included planting churches cross-culturally. Accordingly he is highly qualified to write Global Humility since he draws on his own observations and experience.

Check your Attitude

From the ‘west’ we often unintentionally display a patronising, colonial and paternalistic attitude when in another culture. In Global Humility Andy teaches the Biblical, grace-saturated way of living and communicating, humbly acknowledging we do not ‘know it all’. By taking different Biblical stories he illustrates God’s heart and love for all men, challenging us not to be in any sense superior but to humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand. For instance, I loved chapter 5 where we are led through the different ways we can understand such stories as those of Ruth or the woman at the well, the understanding differing widely depending on the cultural lens through which we read them. These, and other stories about Bathsheba, the man born blind and so on, gave me fresh insights into such culture-defining characteristics as ‘shame’, ‘blame’, ‘honour’ and ‘victim’. I now understand with even greater clarity the compassion of God for all men.

Whose story?

In chapter 7 Andy fascinatingly shows how the ‘statistical centre of gravity’ of global Christianity has constantly been on the move. From Jerusalem it moved through Europe in the Middle Ages before jumping to the African continent about 100 years ago. It is now in Mali. So to assume that western culture is in any way synonymous with Christianity is, to say the least, foolish. We must learn about other cultures if we are to be relevant.

Memory and Language

In another chapter Andy shows the powerful, and sometimes painful, place of memory as nations are aware of their past history, perhaps under ‘colonial masters’, and, as a result, find it hard to receive the good news of the gospel from their erstwhile oppressors. And in yet another how language shapes the way we think, a much deeper concept than just needing to see the Bible translated. Gold Every one of the 23 chapters contains nuggets of gold and each reader will be equipped as they identify with different aspects of Andy’s insights.

Space prevents me from doing justice to this invaluable contribution to gaining cross-cultural understanding and to demonstrating the need to exhibit humility in acknowledging that many of our presuppositions are invalid. I urge you to read it and tap into the wealth of research and experience that Andy provides. You won’t regret it! 

 

Original source: http://www.nigel.ring.org

 

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