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Ministering in Honor-Shame Cultures: Biblical Foundations and Practical Essentials Paperback – October 1, 2016
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"Georges and Baker have taken the seeds of previous work on honor and shame in the environment of the biblical world and in modern cultures and cultivated them into fruitful insights and guidance in the areas of theology, crosscultural engagement and, especially, missions. They provide a culturally sensitive reading of Scripture and of modern non-Western situations, significantly advancing the question of how awareness of this dimension of the texts and our global community can improve our interactions with people living from a decidedly different axis of values and in our thinking about the contextualization of the gospel." (David A. deSilva, Ashland Theological Seminary, Trustees Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek)
"What Georges and Baker have done in this wonderfully helpful volume is unprecedented. They have plumbed the depths of current scholarly discussions on honor and shame from multiple sources (biblical studies, theology, anthropology, and intercultural studies) and have made such information wonderfully accessible for the practitioner. Intelligent, informed, and culturally perceptive, this resource will impact the theory and practice of missionaries and local leaders in unprecedented ways. Throughout, the writing is critical yet engaging. The appendixes ("Key Scriptures on Honor-Shame" and "Biblical Stories Addressing Honor-Shame") will prove to be exceptionally helpful resources. Those working in the global world of today must read this book. To not do so would be a true shame!" (Christopher Flanders, Abilene Christian University)
"I was so glad for this book to stretch my heart and mind. Baker and Georges gave me new tools and hope for ministry, not just in a Majority World context, but in Western contexts that are increasingly both secular and globalized. Their experiences and thoughtfulness as missionaries give particular power to their call for us to love and care for people in 'old' ways." (Mako Nagasawa, director, New Humanity Institute)
"An exceptional book on this timeless worldview and timely topic. The authors interweave real life stories to help us rediscover a biblical worldview and see how to apply the living Word of God today." (Samuel E. Chiang, president and CEO, Seed Company)
"Although Jayson Georges has written on the important topic of honor-shame in the past, this book, coauthored with Mark Baker, takes an understanding of honor-shame dynamics to another level. Every message bearer working in non-Western cultures needs to read and apply the insights and principles of this book if they are to avoid the typical cultural blunders too often committed by too many. Within are crucial insights for effective crosscultural ministry." (Marvin J. Newell, senior VP, Missio Nexus, author of Crossing Cultures in Scripture)
"Building responsibly on biblical and anthropological foundations for understanding honor and shame cultures, the authors offer practical reflections on how to engage honor-shame societies in the work of intercultural mission. This book will especially be of help to Christian workers from the West serving among Majority World peoples." (Edward L. Smither, dean, associate professor of intercultural studies, director, Zwemer Center, College of Intercultural Studies, Columbia International University)
"We can learn so much from failure if we want to, and the authors share here their failures and successes in working among societies where honor-shame values operate rather than those of guilt-innocence. Their plea is that we read the Bible with fresh eyes, seeing how the gospel was communicated in the honor-shame cultures in which it was written, rather than using the contextualized guilt-innocence paradigm we have accepted as the only way to minister. The text is full of examples that help the reader understand how differently honor-shame codes play out in the understanding of salvation and discipleship. It is a healthy shift for Western missionaries to rethink their evangelism strategies, especially in the collectivist societies in which many of them work. Sherwood and I strongly recommend this book to people trying to understand a way of structuring the world that is very different from the one in which they grew up." (Judith Lingenfelter, professor emerita, School of Intercultural Studies, Biola University)
About the Author
Jayson Georges (MDiv, Talbot) lived in Central Asia for nine years doing church planting and micro-enterprise development. He is the author of The 3D Gospel, founder/editor of HonorShame.com and creator of The Culture Test. He serves as missiologist-in-residence at an evangelical organization, developing tools and training for Christians working in honor-shame contexts. For security reasons after living in Muslim countries, Jayson has asked not to be identified in photos.
Mark D. Baker (PhD, Duke University) is professor of mission and theology at Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary in Fresno, California. He served as a missionary in Honduras for ten years and has written a number of books in English and Spanish.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is a great resource for understanding other cultures. In the west, we see things differently from the majority of the word. The reason for this is the cultural upbringing we are raised in. We are very individualistic as westerners. Because of this, we don't rightly understand the importance of group approval in many other cultures. We are tempted to think we understand this because we do want group approval in certain situations but our entire lives are not truly wrapped up in a collective group for survival. We don't live and breathe in groups as westerners. Our very well being is not up to a certain group.
The westerner is able to leave a group and find another to join. They are more to themselves and view themselves as an individual whose actions don't affect everyone else they come in contact with. There is a distinctive difference between those of us raised in the West and those in the East.
The answer to understanding and helping others; is in understanding those cultural contexts. The author reminds us that Scripture was actually written in this collective cultural mindset. Viewing scripture in this way is natural. The authors give examples of this throughout.
The interesting thing about this book is showing how the gospel has power in both cultural contexts but how you approach each cultural context with it will be very different. We have the same gospel but a different approach. You have to read this book to understand more about what I am saying here but it is well worth your time.
If you do any kind of work or have friendships with others from different cultural backgrounds, I suggest you read this book. It was eye opening to me and a resource I will go back to again and again.
I received a copy of this book at no charge from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.
What Is In The Book
The authors divide the book into three parts. The first part is Cultural Anthropology. It describes honor-shame cultures and points to the challenges they pose for Westerners. They explain the communal and relational nature of morality in these settings where “…what is best for relationships and honors people is morally right; what shames is morally wrong.”
Part two examines the Biblical theology of honor and shame. This section is very helpful. Western emphasis on judicial guilt before God and aversion to shame may blind us to the Bible’s teaching on these themes. That blindness is particularly concerning when we remember that cultures in the Bible were likely honor-shame cultures. The atmosphere of the Bible is one of honor and shame, and we miss much of the meaning when we miss these themes.
Part three deals with practical ministry in honor-shame cultures focusing on spirituality, relationships, evangelism, conversion, ethics, and community. While it may be tempting for the cross-cultural worker desperately seeking answers to jump to this section, it is best to do the work of understanding. Too often we skip to best practices without understanding the reason for the practice. The book concludes with three appendices dealing with pertinent Biblical passages, Bible stories, and recommended resources.
Who Should Read It and Why They Should
The Good News is that Jesus takes away our shame as well as our guilt. This book should help Christian cross-cultural workers. It is useful for them no matter if their focus is evangelism, church planting, discipleship, or humanitarian relief. This book will help them to understand and to adapt to their host culture. As I wrote earlier, I would have loved to read it 20 years ago. Besides this audience, I think anyone working cross-culturally in an honor-shame based culture would benefit. It would also be helpful for pastors and mission leaders in the United States leading churches to engage the immigrant communities around them or to send short-term teams around the world. This book is one of the most importantly practical books that I have read in the area of missiology. This
(Full disclosure: I received an advance review copy from InterVarsity Press in exchange for a review. I was under no obligation to give a positive review.)