Transcultural Verb

One of the great lessons my wife and I learned it happened when we lived in Mozambique, a beautiful and surprising country on the southern east region of Africa, where we had the opportunity to lead the Salvation Army for four and a half years.

Despite the more than 40 dialects spoken in Mozambique the official language is the Portuguese and been Brazilians we knew it and spoke it since childhood. Communication however goes beyond the ability to speak the same language, it must exist the same understanding about common experiences of life.

In one occasion, a young couple asked me to photograph their wedding. Therefore, when at the celebration the bride showed a very sad face I insisted and almost forced her to smile without realizing that in her culture to display happiness in such event meant to dishonor her parents for revealing satisfaction to leave the parental home. In Mozambique it is natural for the brides to display sadness and even to cry at their wedding while in my country the normal is for them to show joy.

Which is the correct? To display joy for the imminent possibility to form a new home or to display sadness for the imminent possibility to leave the parental one? There isn’t a correct one, there are different ways to see the same issue. Different cultures see the issues form different angles. That which seams familiar to us is what we usually accept as correct.

There are other and deeper cultural differences that affect different areas of life. Therefore, in these days of growing multiculturalism it is fundamental to learn to celebrate our commonalities and to respect our differences.

The most effective and efficient language of all times, that is equally understood by all peoples, is love! This language was not only the idiom spoken by God, it is his own nature! As children of God lets learn to fluently conjugate this verb with our lifes!

  • Which differences do you perceive between the Christian and the atheist culture?

  • How can love help in the communication between these two cultures?

(God’s nature, 1 John 4:7-8 – God’s language, Philippians 2:2-4).


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