How can we navigate cultural differences?

Cultural differences are inevitable. When we experience these divergent values, approaches, or perspectives, it’s normal for misunderstanding to develop - as well as frustration, tension, confusion, and embarrassment.

However, if we begin the process of cross-cultural communication with an open heart, bringing an adaptable, trusting, and accepting attitude to the relationship, we can build strong relationships. But if we start the encounter suspicious and fearful, with a proud or prejudiced heart, things can spiral downwards.

This helpful (if dated) video from 2100 Productions, an InterVarsity ministry, explains these two pathways to approaching differences. It will help our global community build strong relationships with one another while honoring our unique cultural perspectives.

Approaching Differences - Urbana 2000 from InterVarsity twentyonehundred on Vimeo.

After you become familiar with this diagram, you can ask yourself a simple diagnostic question when you experience cultural differences: am I on the “green line” or the “red line”? The “green line” is the pathway of openness; the “red line” is a posture of fear.

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