Years ago, when my husband and I were driving along the coastline on the island of Oahu, Hawaii we saw a small kiosk on the side of the road called “Pablo Goldstein’s Taco Stand.” For some reason, a man with a Hispanic first name and a Jewish last name selling tacos on the tropical island of Oahu struck me as a little humorous.
In many countries where we travel for ministry, we teach among a cultural mix. Several times, I have spoken to women’s groups and asked them how many different nationalities were represented. The results have been as little as three and as many as twenty-something. I am always amazed at how well people with different backgrounds blend together.
Of course, that is not always true. The news and history are filled with stories of cultural clashes. Wars have been fought and borders have been redrawn because of those differences.
After the Second World War, the United Nations was established for the purpose of promoting international co-operation. Hopefully, because of the United Nations, some conflicts have been held in check, but even with 193 member states, cultural conflicts continue throughout the world.
The difference, I believe, in looking past cultural differences and working together or having those differences become a source of conflict is based in one’s attitude toward mankind as governed by a belief system. When I am traveling and teaching, it is among Christians. Christ came to save all men and women.
International groups and churches that I have been a part of certainly have had adjustment issues, but because of Christ, they were usually worked out. Often, the mix of cultures gives an interesting flavor to the worship services. In some churches, for example, the music teams are rotated between different cultural groups.
My life has been greatly enriched by exposure to cultures other than my own.
For God so loved the world that He gave HIs only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28). Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:34-35).