Cross-Cultural Communication

What difficulties in communication do cross-cultural workers face? How can these best be addressed in various settings?

Posts tagged contextualization
Evaluating Hiebert’s Hunch - Is Lack of Phenomenological Knowledge the Weakest Link in “Critical Contextualization”?:  the Case of the Mende People of Sierra Leone, West Africa

by Dave Datema

Paul Hiebert championed “critical contextualization” and identified phenomenology (“exegeting humans”) as the weakest link in its practice that often led to split-level Christianity. In this paper I evaluate this assessment by locating the practice of critical contextualization among the Mende people of Sierra Leone, West Africa. I show how split-level Christianity took place there historically, examine phenomenological data to better understand Mende culture and ponder contemporary attempts of critical contextualization in Sierra Leone by Sierra Leoneans - all to support my thesis that critical contextualization is not so much a knowledge problem as it is a control problem. Cross-cultural missionaries will never have enough local knowledge to be the best contextualizers and until real control of contextualization is relinquished and given to nationals, critical contextualization will remain as a good idea rarely accomplished.

Read More
Cultural Schemas Shape Identity and Influence Language

By Sheryl Silzer

When people receive the Scriptures in their language for the first time, they interpret the message through their previous knowledge and experiences. If the new information is not understandable in relation to what they already know, the Scriptures may not impact or change their lives. A major challenge for Bible translators coming from a scientific worldview is the ability to recognize how their scientific worldview may fit in and even promote the magical worldview of the receptor language speakers (Harries 2011, 18). Early missiologists linked this clash of worldview to a lack of applicability of the Gospel message (Hesselgrave 1978, 68; Kraft 1978, 94; Dye 1987, 39).

Read More