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Cross-Cultural Conflict: Building Relationships for Effective Ministry Paperback – January 21, 1994

4.7 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"From his wealth of experience at home and abroad, Duane Elmer has created a wondrous tribute to the human capability of learning to relate to people who are different." (Ted Ward, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School)

"This book should be required reading for any person involved in or entering into cross-cultural ministry. It also has enormous value for anyone interested in building healthy relationships to serve God more effectively, wherever they may be." (Luis Bush, formerly international director, AD 2000 & Beyond Movement)

"Every cross-cultural worker and those who live in cross-cultural communities will find this book informative and helpful in adjusting to another culture." (Bong Rin Ro, Overseas Missionary Fellowship)

"Elmer has addressed the basic problem behind 90% of all my frustrations as a mission executive. I highly recommend the book as required reading. . . . Thank you for this most important contribution to world mission." (James E. Plueddemann, SIM International)

From the Back Cover

Pastors, evangelists, businesspeople, missionaries, students- anyone who wants to communicate more effectively with neighbors and colleagues- will find this book immensely helpful.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 189 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (January 21, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830816577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830816576
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #439,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The authors have presented an excelent foundation for understanding cross cultural relationships. Perhaps the best of the book is the duscussion which focuses on patient learning of as much of the other culture as possible to understand non-American responses to situations and events. The authors carefully consider what an American response would be, and also give examples of responses from cultures outside American culture. We are finding the book very useful for both our American missionaries, as well as our African counterparts. Both are coming to new levels understanding one another, as well as working together. Great beginning!
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Format: Paperback
This is the first book I've read that concisely surveys the differences between what the author called "Two Thirds World" cultures in comparison and contrast with Western (American) culture, and finds some leeway in Scripture for various ways of conflict resolution; the author gives a fair presentation and encourages cross cultural dialogue
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Format: Paperback
Elmer does a great job of balancing general advice with practical examples. Many books suffer from general advice that one is hard pressed to apply while other books give lots of specific examples that you cannot apply to your particular situation.

The first section of the book deals with understanding conflict and culture. This deals with the subject in a general way. He looks at five popular western ways of approaching a troublesome situation: win-lose, avoidance, giving in, compromise, and carefronting. He suggests that all are western and need to be modified in other cultures. The second section gets to the heart of the matter and provides information on using mediation and mediators; the one-down position and vulnerability; storytelling and proverbs; and inaction, misdirection, silence, and indefinite persons. A number of cultures are used as examples: African, Middle Eastern, and Asian.

The third and final section provides a series of principles which are in wide use such as speak to the problem, not the person. The conclusion consists of ten general rules and eight principles for dealing with cross-cultural conflict. On the whole, a book well worth reading.
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Format: Paperback
I found this to be a well written book that introduced some basic concepts in intercultural communication through personal stories and easy to read discussion of the concepts. Elmer shows us the many contrasts between Western Culture and Two-Thirds World cultures and provides concise suggestions on how to navigate the differences successfully. I especially appreciated a chapter he devoted to a study of an episode from the book of Joshua which illustrated a Biblical model of successful conflict resolution. While this book is not comprehensive in its approach it is informative and easy reading.
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Format: Paperback
Before I moved to Bangkok, Thailand in 1996 to teach at an International School, friends loaned me their copy of this book. It opened my eyes. A few years later, a professor in my graduate studies required that I read it again. I did so gladly. I cited this book favorably in my thesis and highly recommend it to any Westerner who will work with non-Westerners.

Duane Elmer first helps Americans understand their own typical conflict resolution style. Then he surveys conflict resolution styles of non-Western cultures. More than that, he shows how the Bible upholds each of these styles as viable options for conflict resolution.
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Format: Paperback
Duane Elmer's book Cross-Cultural Conflict is an important book intended to "clarify issues in intercultural and interracial conflict, to provide insights on different ways people of various cultures handle conflict, and to evaluate these approaches according to Scripture" (pg. 22). Elmer also seeks to "provide practical guidelines for (1) helping people live harmoniously with our cultural differences, (2) developing a positive strategy for dealing with conflict, and (3) communicating the gospel of Jesus Christ more effectively and ministering the nurturing grace of God (pg. 22).

The first section stresses that learning to live harmoniously with people is an issue of learning to accept cultural differences and remembering the importance of unity as taught in the Bible. It is important to remember that God places a high priority on the importance of relationships and if we fail to reflect God's heart in this area we will risk undermining our ability to effectively communicate the gospel.

The second section of the book offers several strategies for positively dealing with conflict. Elmer's approach is for the missionary to utilize the method of dealing with conflict in the particular cultural setting one is in. It is important to realize the there is no necessarily one right way of handling conflict but rather different ways. The missionary needs to place a higher priority on relationships than winning and learn to use culturally appropriate means of conflict resolution.

The final sections give very practical guidelines in the form of principles for managing conflict. Elmer offers ten general rules for dealing with conflict along with eight principles for dealing with cross-cultural resolution. These steps when used together allow for the effective building of relationships and allows for the possibility of the gospel message to bring healing in various cultures around the world.
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