It occurred to me in the last few days that there is a comparable situation between two unlikely events, that can end up producing similar outcomes.
At the turn of the millennium, I was a YWAM missionary, first training in the UK then in the Middle East. Part of my own research and study involved coming to factual terms with what is termed “culture shock,” which is a very real, dynamic and potentially dangerous event.
Different cultures operate in different ways. Hot climate cultures differ from cold climate cultures. Even one hot climate culture may differ quite dramatically from another hot climate culture, to lesser or greater degrees. Most people who go abroad will know in tiny part what I mean. We go for a week or two, enjoy the experience, soak up the atmosphere, enjoy ourselves. Laugh or frown at the driving, customs, language or principle mood of the place, but in the end, the return ticket is in our pocket. We’re going home, and we know it. Imagine going to a place so alien in language and custom, not to mention temperature and (from a Western perspective), hygiene – with a single ticket. You’re there for the long-haul and you’ve got to deal with what comes your way. And anyone who thinks or assumes this is easy has not experienced what I am attempting to articulate.
Book Review: ‘Quiet’ by Susan Cain
A few years ago I was in a bookshop and stumbled upon this book as I was browsing. I picked it up and was hooked immediately. I think I read the first chapter before paying for it. What follows is my review that I’ve recently rediscovered, and I offer it here.
The sub-title of the book reads: ‘The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking’. And although this book is secular, the author not only accesses her biblically Jewish roots, but what she says is as relevant to Christian ministry as it is to industry chiefs and educators.
Cain refers to the introvert/extrovert divide as the most “fundamental dimension of personality”, arguing further that in a world of extroverted pomp, introverts make up over a third of the human race! It is not the pomp of extrovertedness that she critiques per se, but rather the inevitable downside view that the sensitive and serious are seen as undesirable, in both the popular mind of culture and business.
Christ is certainly no less concerned than Nietzsche that the personality should receive the fullest development of which it is capable, and be more and more of a power. The difference between them lies in the moral method by which the personality is put into possession of itself and its resources – in the one case by asserting itself, in the other by losing it. . . . . We complete our personality only as we fall into place and service in the vital movement of the society in which we live.
Isolation means arrested development. The aggressive egoist is working his own moral destruction by stunting and shrinking his true personality. Social life, duty, and sympathy are the only conditions under which a true personality can be shaped. And if it be asked how a society so crude, imperfect, unmoral, and even immoral as that in which we live is to mould a personality truly moral, it is here that Christ comes to the rescue with the gift to faith both of an active Spirit and of a society complete in Himself.