The book begins with an analysis of the importance of culture in the world. The author says that cultural diversity dramatically affects a person’s worldview and self-esteem. Sometimes, due to a lack of understanding of the environment, a foreigner feels lonely. The book describes in detail how faith can overcome all the challenges of cultural diversity. When a person gets into a new environment, he/she feels a culture shock. This phenomenon is due to changes in the situation and differences in customs. Culture shock is a state of confusion, loss of orientation, and emotional disturbance caused by a person suddenly falling into an unfamiliar environment or another culture1. The author notes that faith is the most effective way to adapt because Christian principles are based on moral values, kindness, and helping others and regardless of the attitude of others.
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The author considers the identity crisis as a relatively natural result of contact with foreign culture. The old social order and cultural norms are disappearing, and the individual experiences unpleasant feelings of discomfort and surprise at the realization of the difference between cultures and confusion in values and their identity. In general, the book describes tips on how not to lose heart while in another country, among people of a different mentality. I appreciate the book’s content because the book reflects the most important lessons that will help overcome negative thoughts connected with the change of residence. Thus, it is necessary to adapt to another’s cultural environment through faith, understanding of values, communication, conflict management, and love to everybody.
Lessons of How to Engage in Appropriate and Effective Christian Intercultural Communication
The first lesson is that faith is the only way to adapt to a new culture and overcome culture shock. The author emphasizes that with the help of faith, a person develops a sense of social identity, a network of values and beliefs, lifestyle, and a sense of ethnocentrism as a belief that customs and traditions inherent in this culture are appropriate and only available. However, even within one culture, inculturation takes place variously in different people because it is influenced not only by social institutions and attitudes but also by the characteristics of each individual. It is essential to apply Christian values while in an unfamiliar environment. In addition, a person is a member of various subcultural groups that influence him/her. Thus, the sense of cultural identity inherent in every person is not the same within a given culture, differing depending on the above factors.
The second lesson is that it is essential to accept the values of other cultures in intercultural communication. The category of values is formed in the human mind through the comparison of different phenomena. A general value attitude of a person to the world is created, in which certain phenomena have a specific meaning and significance for people2. Moreover, the important thing is that often the values in other cultures are radically different. The author of the book notes that Christian moral principles will help to understand people with other priorities. Values are of great importance in any culture because they determine a person’s relationship with nature, society, the immediate environment, and himself/herself.
The third lesson is that communication is an essential element of understanding between people in an unfamiliar cultural environment. Communication plays a vital role in the life and work of every person. Through communication, societies of people are formed, interaction is established, and social norms of behavior are developed. Communication plays a significant role in the adaptation of a person in a culture alien to him/her. Knowledge of the essence of communication, its patterns, functions, mutual exchange, and problems are the basis for the implementation and improvement of relationships with other people and meet the higher needs of the individual. Without communication, a person cannot fully adapt to another cultural environment and find like-minded people. The human need for communication is due to the need to interact in learning, joint activities, and everyday problems. Interaction between people is transmitted through verbal and non-verbal channels. Christian principles show that communication is a means of helping one’s neighbor.
The fourth lesson is that it is essential to be able to manage conflict situations. Having entered into a conflict, each party, as a rule, does everything to accept its point of view, achieved its goal, and prevent the other party from doing the same. You need to learn to manage situations when there is a misunderstanding between people. This is especially important in conflicts between different cultures because people in different environments often cannot understand each other. The book says that conflict situations should be avoided and understand the interlocutor relying on Christian principles.
The fifth lesson is that love is an essential element of every person’s life, which is the main principle in any culture. God created man in His image, gave him an immortal soul just as we pay homage to the sign of St. cross, figure because they remind us of something sacred, just as we must love our neighbors because they are images of God and remind us of the Creator3. Therefore, the author notes that it is necessary to love, respect, and help them among people of another culture. Love has great power, and it is one of the most important elements in Christianity.
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The Impact of Five Lessons on my Ministry
Each of the five lessons will affect my ministry somehow because I have to tell people God’s laws. Therefore, by analyzing the rules that help to adapt to the intercultural environment, I will apply them in church sermons. After all, the church is like a small world where people of different cultures and nationalities gather to serve God. If people come to me for help with the problem of being in a strange environment or with the issue of communicating with a person of another culture, I will retell these five lessons.
In conclusion, intercultural communication is a complex phenomenon that requires effort to implement. Often a person receives a culture shock from a misunderstanding of values and difficulty in communication, being in a strange environment. However, Christian principles are designed to help people feel comfortable everywhere. Faith is the main element of intercultural communication because, on its basis, a person copes with culture shock, understands other people’s values, learns to deal with conflicts, communicates, and expresses love for others. Intercultural communication requires patience and imitation of Christian moral values to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings. Thus, the book describes Christian values that can help people understand the ability to communicate even with different views on life and different cultural customs.
Chang, Tim, and Ashley Chang. Christian Intercultural Communication: How to Share God’s Love with People of Other Cultures: Kendall Hunt Publishing, 2021.
- Tim Chang and Ashley Chang, Christian Intercultural Communication: How to Share God’s Love with People of Other Cultures: Kendall Hunt Publishing, 2021, 23.
- Tim Chang and Ashley Chang, Christian Intercultural Communication: How to Share God’s Love with People of Other Cultures: Kendall Hunt Publishing, 2021, 95.
- Tim Chang and Ashley Chang, Christian Intercultural Communication: How to Share God’s Love with People of Other Cultures: Kendall Hunt Publishing, 2021, 105.