Welcome to our chapter seven discussion of Practicing Hospitality. For eight weeks, we'll take a chapter and open it up for discussion. I'll start us off with a summary of the chapter and then open the linky for questions and thoughts. Even if you're not reading the book, feel free to add to the conversation. May you be blessed!
Chapter Seven: Hospitality and Culture
Chapter Two was all about showing hospitality to strangers. But a serious consideration in that topic is culture. You have to understand the culture of those you are hosting and your own culture in order to fully utilize your opportunities. In our little community, we frequently interact with a variety of cultures: East Indians, Mexican, Asian, etc. When we lived in the city, we were surrounded by a huge Russian population. As near as my own family, we embrace the Native American culture and lifestyle of small town America. We can escape the impact of culture all around us.
Some important areas to consider include religion, food, relationships, manners, customs, language, values, work ethic, jus to name a few. In the Native American culture, for example, elders are highly valued. When serving an elder from this culture, I would make sure they were served first and offered the finest items that we have available.
The purpose of this chapter was largely to get us thinking about culture and how it affects our relationships. Practicing hospitality is a great tool in showing Christ's love. However, if we unknowingly offend others, our witness has been compromised. It would be impossible to seamlessly integrate one's self into another culture. But by taking the time to consider the various aspects that affect how we see the world, we can go a long way in extending hospitality cross-culturally.
Four areas that we specifically discussed include:
*Time orientation-- matters like RSVP or arriving on time many carry different meanings from culture to culture.
*Task/Goal Focus-- remember that relationships are your goal. Never leave a guest alone; incorporate them into your evening. Take the focus off the meal and have a flexible plan for your evening that will facilitate relationships.
*Etiquette-- Etiquette falls under three areas: gift-giving (research the symbols of given countries), table etiquette (take an informal approach), and conversation (be an active listener and avoid slang).
*Food-- Simple recognizable foods are the best. Be aware of dietary restrictions.
The authors offer this last thought: "... international students are tomorrow's leaders!Many countries closed to missionaries are sending students to study in the United States. Believers need to catch the vision for the world impact they can have by extending friendship and hospitality to international students" (pg 212). That's quite a thought and one I need to think on more. What are your thoughts?
This Week's Discussion:
1. Do you do all things for "the sake of the gospel" (I Cor 9:23)? Evaluate how you would respond to the cultural differences we discussed: time orientation, task/goal focus, etiquette, and food. Ask the Lord to mature you in patience, flexibility and love towards others who are culturally different, for the sake of the gospel.
2. Do you know how to share your faith with someone from another religion? Take the time to develop answers for the following questions. Find three or four specific Scriptures to support each of your answers. Pray that that Lord will give you the opportunity to share your faith. Finally, consider memorizing several of the verses you have selected.
How would you describe your God? What are his attributes?
How does your religion define sin?
How does your religion view death? What happens when you dies?
Who is Jesus?
What is the meaning/purpose of life?
3. Consider reaching out as a family to an international student. Make a list of routine family activities suitable for including an international student. Use the list below to get you started.
Athletic events or family hobbies
Family day trips
Family shopping trips to become familiar with the community
Join us next Thursday Aug 11th for chapter eight: Hospitality and Ministry
Feel free to link up below if you're discussing Practicing Hospitality on your blog. We love hearing your thoughts and being encouraged in this journey together. Can't wait to hear what you're thinking.