Culture is the unspoken language that defines the way we see the world. It is partially determined by our geographic location, but it is so much more. As every newly married couple discovers, every family unit has its own culture (when do we eat, how loud the TV can be, who does what, and whether we’re punctual or late, to name but a few). And those seemingly small differences can sometimes cause big problems.
Culture is the encoded, invisible Rule by which we live that, to a large degree, defines everything about us. And those rules, when broken, can make us very upset, uneasy or even angry. But what can we do about it?
Expanding Our Horizons
Just as exercise can be tiring for our bodies; doing the work of understanding the perspective of others can be tiring for our minds. So why bother? Why do it if it’s hard? Here’s the thing: if we don’t exercise our bodies, we lose our health and strength. If we don’t exercise our minds, we become close-minded, fearful and inflexible. If we don’t work at developing empathy and compassion, we can become narcissistic and cold. A little stretching outside of our comfort zones, a little reaching toward others who see the world differently enriches our souls and expands our horizons. Best of all, we have the chance to make some incredible friends and learn more about the multifaceted beauty of God through the diversity of Christ’s people.
So how do we do it? How do we as Christians, as churches and leaders, stretch ourselves, expand our understanding, and develop the ability to love new people who may look or do things differently from ourselves? We practice inclusive leadership.
I spoke with Padre Michelet Dormeus about how we can lead—and live—more inclusively, and in so doing make ourselves, our churches and our CBOQ family better, stronger, wiser and reflect better the diversity of God’s Kingdom.
“People from diverse cultures can make CBOQ stronger.”—Pastor Michelet Dormeus
Want to learn more? We have some book recommendations for you, provided by Rev. Dr. Timothy Li-Hui Tang, Director, Tyndale Intercultural Ministries Centre!
- Beyond Colorblind, by Sarah Shin
Asian-American Christian author. Good as a workbook with questions at the end of each chapter.
- The Multicultural Leader, by Dan Sheffield
A Canadian author with a very thoughtful take on the topic of “church” and intercultural leadership.
- From the Margins to the Centre, by TIM Centre
A collection of essays from TIM Centre on training, diaspora, international students, refugees and asylum seekers.
- Many Colors, by Soong Chan Rah
An excellent piece and a more challenging read.
- The Minority Experience, by Adrian Pei
A broad conversation when talking about listening to and hearing the experiences of a minority group. An excellent chapter on organizational development.
All of the above books can be ordered through Read On Bookstore.
From a secular perspective: