We are excited to announce the theme for our short-term ministry this year (and probably next year as well), Conversando with Friends. As always, Samuel Valtierra has done a great job with the logo. The graphic plays a bit with a book that we also will be promoting as a book to read for short-term teams, Malcolm Gladwell’s Talking to Strangers: What we should know about people we don’t know.
Although not all of Gladwell’s book is relevant to cultural adaptation (and there are sections that present the crude reality of crimes and convictions), there are parts of it that are very valuable. His insight into the interaction between Hernan Cortez and the Aztec chief Montezuma near the beginning of the book is a wonderful illustration of the challenges of cross-cultural and linguistic understanding.
Of course, the emphasis for short-term ministry here is not trying to figure out if someone is telling you the truth (a focus in the book), but rather showing friendship and love to our extended family in Christ in Mexico. But Gladwell’s book does address the complexities of culture and the potential deceptiveness of the human heart.
Here are a few quotes from Gladwell’s book:
Today we are now thrown into contact all the time with people whose assumptions, perspectives, and backgrounds are different from our own. The modern world is not two brothers feuding for control of the Ottoman Empire. It is Cortés and Montezuma struggling to understand each other through multiple layers of translators. Talking to Strangers is about why we are so bad at that act of translation.
Gladwell, Malcolm. Talking to Strangers (pp. 11-12). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.
We think we can easily see into the hearts of others based on the flimsiest of clues. We jump at the chance to judge strangers. We would never do that to ourselves, of course. We are nuanced and complex and enigmatic. But the stranger is easy. If I can convince you of one thing in this book, let it be this: Strangers are not easy.
Gladwell, Malcolm. Talking to Strangers (p. 50). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.
Photo of the day
In Mexico a motorcycle serves as a family vehicle!