I Corinthians 13: adapting to a new culture

If I speak with the tongue of a national, but have not love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I wear the national dress and understand the culture and all forms of etiquette,
And if I copy all mannerisms so that I could pass for a national,
But have not love, I gain nothing.

Love endures long hours of language study, and is kind to those who mock its accent;
Love does not envy those who stayed home; love does not exalt its home culture,
Is not proud of its national superiority.

Does not boast about the way we do it back home,
Does not seek its own ways,
Is not easily provoked into telling about the beauty of its home country,
Does not think evil about this culture.

Love bears all criticism about its home culture,
Believes all good things about this new culture,
Confidently anticipates being at home in this place,
Endures all inconveniences.

Love never fails:
But where there is cultural anthropology, it may fail;
Where there is contextualization, it may lead to syncretism;
Where there is linguistics, it may change.

For we know only part of the culture and we minister to only part.
But when Christ is reproduced in this culture, then our inadequacies will be insignificant.

When I was in America, I spoke as an American, I understood as an American.
I thought as an American.
But when I left America, I put away American things.

Now we adapt to this culture awkwardly; but He will live in it intimately;
Now I speak with a strange accent, but He will speak to the heart.

And now these three remain: cultural adaptation, language study, and love.
But the greatest of these is love.

    Author unknown
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