Editorial: February 2017
Culture shock. This piece of missionary jargon frequently appears in AF articles, but what is it? On page 6, George Tooray describes the culture shock he is experiencing as an African visiting the United States. He describes the overwhelming feelings of anxiety, alienation and helplessness that wash over a person when they are immersed in a new culture, far from everything familiar and comforting. In an unfamiliar culture, every day is full of troubling mysteries, as Robert Campbell tells us on page 34, wondering why his neighbor is beating a pig.
In the West where we live each day in personal bubbles of streamlined, upholstered, climate-controlled comfort surrounded by our favorite food, drink and entertainment, it is rare for us, even momentarily, to step outside our comfort zones, much less struggle through prolonged culture shock. That is a pity, because culture shock should be a daily reality for every Christian if this world is not our home. Culture shock isn’t fun, but it gives us valuable insights into the thought patterns and values of the world around us, and it provides opportunities for us to see our own hearts in a new light. It also earns us credibility and the right to be heard. Can you imagine the awful culture shock Jesus experienced during His 33 years on earth? But He chose that burden intentionally to better reach out to fallen humanity.
I invite you to choose to experience culture shock today, letting your old identity fall away as you embrace heaven’s culture and live as a child of the kingdom.