Saturday Morning Post

Here’s a few links to interesting reads from the week.

Cultural and Missional Articles

Please Don’t Say They Are Poor But Happy from A Life Overseas by Rachel Piehl Jones. I hear this far too often. Oh, they are poor, but happy. How would you know? Did you judge this from a photo? Or a conversation lasting more than five minutes with a local while visiting a foreign country?

Global Rules of Greeting, an NPR piece that brings up how close is too close in differing cultures. Of course, the article is inspired by creepy shots of Joe Biden and John Travolta, both who were captured noshing on women’s necks in public.

Dear Doctor Dobson, an article by Robyn Bliss about parents living in less than ideal foreign countries and how they raise their children in such places as Pakistan or East Asia.

Good Books 

If you have the time and inclination to dig deeper into the interplay of culture and communication, I recommend the following:

1. Among Cultures: The Challenge of Communication by Bradford J Hall. It’s a textbook, i.e. not for light reading, that I used for a linguistics class but it’s a great resource for anyone considering living abroad.

2. Peace Child by Don Richardson is an older classic for the missionary type. It’s a true story of Don’s adventures living among a tribe in Papua New Guinea who were at time still practicing child sacrifice as well as cannibalism. Don was able to influence the culture to become non-violent. He did not ask them to be like Westerners.

What are you reading this week?

5 thoughts on “Saturday Morning Post

  1. Biden and Travolta have really been embarrassing themselves of late, or they should be embarrassed.

    What have I been reading this week? Just finishing Dick Cheney’s memoir. Dick is my kind of guy.

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  2. I didn’t mention that I read the novel, Still Alice, this week. It didn’t fit the topics in my post. Very easy reading, but thoughtful and compelling discussion of a topic that most would find daunting to wrote about.

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  3. Thanks for your comment on the “poor but happy” meme. It’s time that one was completely put to bed. In fact, there’s plenty of economic research to indicate that people grow happier with more money, up to a point. And I’d add my own comment that just because some poor people are able to make the best of a bad situation doesn’t mean they wouldn’t benefit hugely from some more money, nor that such money wouldn’t make them happier.

    Of course it has to be in moderation. Apparently it’s pretty common for big lottery winners to lose everything, including what they started with, a few years after winning the lottery.

    So, no, you can’t buy happiness, but with a decent amount of money, you have a better shot.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we’re happy to have enough.

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    1. I often found myself speechless when a visitor to our mission area in Honduras could visit someone living in a wooden shack, without clean water, indoor plumbing, with misery written all over their future, and then, say, Oh they’re poor but happy. Later the same mother/father would be complaining about tuition for their lovely children at home, or the high cost of adding a “chef’s kitchen” to their home, as if they somehow were from a different planet. No, we all share the same planet, with very similar hopes and dreams, such as the hope for a better life for our children as well as homes with decent amenities. By and large, many North Americans are an entitled bunch who feel somehow they have a right to luxuries that most of the world can only imagine. Try telling a African in a village without a well that you and I use potable water to flush our toilets. They would be appalled at the waste.

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      1. I’m convinced that there’s a non-significant number of people who can’t even see what’s right in front of their eyes. Instead, their brain twists things to fit their belief system so they don’t have to confront reality. Alas, such thinking seems to be especially prevalent in the political classes, and it’s literally killing us.

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