I Corinthians 13 A guide to 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 his accent;
love does not envy those who stayed home; love does not exalt his home culture
it is not proud of his national superiority.

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

Love bears all criticism about his 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 will fail
where there is contextualization, it will lead to syncretism
where there is linguistics, it will 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.

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