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Cross-Cultural Rules

Today’s Reflection

MY DECISION TO STUDY in France my junior year of college was pivotal. In France, I endured my most sustained experience with vulnerability, that wonderful tutor of our adult years, by trying to live immersed in the language. …

My cross-cultural rules were straightforward: Avoid compatriots and other English speakers. Avoid speaking my own language. Find groups in the host culture and participate in them as much as my outsider status allows. Avoid bashing the host culture and be generous to my own. Avoid groups of foreigners who like to engage in such bashing. Speak the new language as much as possible. Because I couldn’t speak the new language conversationally and avoided speaking my own, I found myself doing a lot of listening and cultural observation. This was not a bad thing.

Later, after spending more time in other cultures, I added another rule: Whatever I think I understand about a culture or group after spending extensive time there, ditch it. Whatever grasp I think I have on the culture after one year, I should be prepared to totally turn it on its head in the second year.

– Dee Dee Risher
The Soulmaking Room

From page 59 of The Soulmaking Room by Dee Dee Risher. Copyright © 2016 by Dee Dee Risher. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Why did the author let go of what she learned her first year in a different culture? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Bless our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard,
who has kept us among the living, and has not let our feet slip.

Psalm 66:8-9, NRSV

This Week: pray for your enemies. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Isidore the Farmer (May 15).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA


{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Jill May 15, 2017, 3:53 am

    Grateful for church yesterday morning – an interesting sermon on anger, being angry with God, all tied into Mother’s Day. Meaningful worship songs. Grateful for being with family yesterday, a smaller gathering than most holidays. Good time together.
    Prayers for the family that gathers here and the week that lies ahead for each of us. Father – thank You for accompanying us along our paths.

  • robert moeller May 15, 2017, 4:39 am

    Thankful for church, fellowship, lunch, and Bible study yesterday, had a long talk with my daughter, a nice walk, and my son and I went out for donuts. Erich, Jenny, and I share mother memories, but Jenny is a mother.

    A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. I identify with today’s reflection writer especially with my experience learning the very limited Korean I may know. Very easy to make mistakes that lead to misunderstanding and hurt.

    Yes, we are asked, directed, commanded to love our enemies. Jesus asks what benefit is it to love those who love you. I pray that I don’t have any personal enemies and pray then for those who would harm me or anyone randomly.
    May the US treat those we have incarcerated as Jesus would have us treat them.

    Prayers of thanksgiving to all who have sent me messages of support. You are a much needed and appreciated blessing. Very hopefully things will work out for all concerned. In Jesus’ name. I pray. Amen.

  • Betsy May 15, 2017, 7:07 am

    This devotion reminds me of Paul’s passage in 1 Corinthians 9 about meeting people where they are all of the sake of winning others to Christ. Our minister preached this message of acceptance and understanding of other cultures. I pray to be more accepting in my life.
    Robert, I’m praying for you and your son, Erich. We make many sacrifices for our children in many ways, and God will be your strength through this decision. I know you can trust in Him.
    Blessings to all our UR family this week.

  • robert moeller May 15, 2017, 7:15 am

    Yes, Betsy and thank you for your prayers. I’m very encouraged by the church I am attending here. I feel very at home and have only been two Sundays.

  • Julie May 15, 2017, 7:46 am

    Robert your faith as well as your selfless service to others are truly inspiraational to me. I hope to achieve such quiet acceptance and true faith in Christ. I am prayingfor you and your son.
    Blessings to allwho visit

  • Andrea May 15, 2017, 12:48 pm

    In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3: 6. (NRSV)
    This Bible verse came to mind after reading today’s reflection. The present tense of the verbs in the verse emphasizes the ongoing process of our acknowledging God and God making straight our paths. What strikes me about today’s reflection is the author’s ongoing process of being open. I see a similarity.

    I pray for my daughter and son-in-law today, and for their ability to resolve conflict.

    I’m thankful for this beautiful spring, with everything so lusciously full and green. May their be spring growth in our lives, too, and open-ness to the unknown road ahead.

    Wishing a blessed day to all.

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