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Literates Working Among Oral Cultures Dr. David Sills Associate Professor of Christian Missions and Cultural Anthropology Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary What is a People Group? • A people group is a “significantly large grouping of individuals who perceive themselves to have a common affinity for one another because of their shared language, religion, ethnicity, residence, occupation, class or caste, situation, etc. or combinations of these.” • “The largest group within which an idea can spread as a without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance.” Nigeria by Political Boundaries Nigeria by Ethnolinguistic Boundaries The numbers have faces, and the faces have names. • There are 27,000 ethnic groups in the world • Every day 40,000 children die of hunger and starvation-related diseases • 6,000 persons die from the lack of clean drinking water Brazil’s kids • Twelve million children live on the street • Seven million children work full time • Half a million girls under sixteen are prostitutes, many sold in coastal cities as part of a vacation package • One in three Brazilian children will die before the age of fifteen DURING THE LAST HOUR • 1,945 children died of preventable causes • 1,625 children were forced to live on the streets because of death or abuse ... • 115 children became child prostitutes ... • 66 children under age 15 were infected with HIV ... • 23 children were killed in war ... Missionary Math • Of the 6,913 known languages, only 411 have a Bible, 1,068 have a NT, and many have only portions. • 70% of the Unreached ethnic groups are preliterates. • 75% of Evangelical churches are located in the 20% of the world that is highly literate. • Since Gutenberg, Christianity has walked on literate feet. World Population Breakdown • Here's one way to think about our various peoples: imagine the planet's entire population as a village of 1,000. The breakdown would be: • 584 from Asia 124 from Africa 95 from East and West Europe 84 from Latin America 55 from the former Soviet Union 52 from North America 6 from Australia and New Zealand Nonverbal Communication “Nonverbal communication is an elaborate code that is written nowhere, known by none, and understood by all.” –Edward Sapir • Importance of Nonverbal Communication: – Nonverbal Communication is all the types of communication that take place without words – Mehrabian & Ferris and Mehrabian & Wiener analysis of meaning communicated through facial and vocal expressions: • Facial Expressions: 55% • Paralanguage (the way the words are said): 38% • Verbal (the words themselves): 7% – Other research suggests that about 2/3 of the meaning in an interaction is conveyed by nonverbal communication Nonverbal Communication Importance of Nonverbal Communication: 5 Reasons: 1. Nonverbal communication is present everywhere 2. Nonverbal communication usually comes first 3. Nonverbal communication is especially likely to be trusted 4. Nonverbal communication can lead to misunderstanding, especially when verbal messages are missing or limited 5. Nonverbal communication is especially important in intercultural communication situations Nonverbal Communication Nonverbal communication messages may: – Contradict verbal communication messages – Complement verbal communication messages – Substitute verbal communication messages – Regulate verbal communication messages – Accent or moderate verbal communication messages Nonverbal Communication Body Movements: • Four main types of kinesic communication: 1. Emblems- Body movements that can be translated into words that are used to intentionally transmit a message (hand gestures) 2. Illustrators- A type of kinesic behavior that accompanies what is said verbally (pointing) 3. Regulators- Kinesic behaviors that control turn-taking and other procedural aspects of interpersonal communication (gaze) 4. Affect Displays- Kinesic behaviors that express emotions (smile) Nonverbal Communication Types of Nonverbal Communication – Space: Proxemics is nonverbal communication involving space – Time: • Chronemics is the way in which time affects communication • Organization of time: – Technical time- the scientific development of the atomic clock (nanoseconds) – Formal time- the process of separating units of time into days, weeks, and months – Informal time- within a culture the more loosely defined concepts of approximation – Touch: Haptics is nonverbal communication involving touching Nonverbal Communication Types of Nonverbal Communication – Voice: Paralanguage is vocal communication other than verbal content – Artifact: An individual’s clothing, wedding ring, personal possessions, etc… – Physical Appearance: Rule-governed cultural preferences dictate the elements of appearance that are considered physically attractive Culture of Language • Verbal style to impress (Latino, Arabic) • Verbal styles to assert and control (German, Irish, Israeli, Turkish) • Verbal style that expresses tolerance for ambiguity (Swedish, Asian) • Verbal style that uses tolerance for silence (Japanese and many other Asian) • Verbal style that expects high information (USA, other Western countries) What Causes Illness? • Evil spirits • Germs • Imbalance of energy • Soul fright • Curse • Broken relationships • Bad luck What causes good things? • God (gods) favor you • Blessed because you did something good • Good karma • Fate • Good luck • Natural outcome of hard work What causes hardships? • Punishment for doing wrong • Part of life to be expected • God trying to get someone’s attention • Fate • Don’t exist unless you think they do • Natural outcome of one’s lifestyle What is the purpose of life? • Serve others • Make your next life better • Make your ancestors’ lives better • Be self-fulfilled • Serve God, give God glory • No purpose other than pleasure • Reproduce Cause of Illness & Treatment • Evil spirits • Appease or rid yourself of evil spirits • Biology/germs • Medicine, surgery • Imbalance of energy • Balance energy • A curse • Remove the curse • Broken relationships with • Restore relationships people, nature, gods • Soul fright • Have the soul returned The 10/40 Window Countries in 10/40 Window Afghanistan Egypt Japan Morocco Syria Algeria Eritrea Jordan Myanmar Taiwan Bahrain Ethiopia Korea, (Burma) Tajikistan Bangladesh Gambia North Nepal Thailand Benin Gibraltar Korea, Niger Tunisia Bhutan Greece South Oman Turkey Burkina Guinea Kuwait Pakistan Turkmenistan Faso Guinea- Laos Philippines United Arab Cambodia Bissau Lebanon Portugal Emirates Chad India Libya Qatar Vietnam China Iran Macau Saudi Arabia Western Sahara Cyprus Iraq Mali Senegal Yemen Djibouti Israel Malta Sudan Mauritania 10/40 Window Statistics • Unreached and unevangelized: 95% of the people living in the 10/40 Window are unevangelized. Many have never heard the Gospel message even once. • Poverty: 85% of those living in the 10/40 window are the poorest of the world's poor. • Population: 2/3 of the World’s population lives here in 1/3 of World’s land mass. • World religions: Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism are centered in the 10/40 Window. The Physical Need . . . • ...There are over 400 mega cities (cities with more than 1 million people) in the world today. 300 of these cities lie within the Window. • ...The Window contains the majority of the world's least evangelized mega cities. Of the top 50 cities on this list, all 50 cities are in the 10/40 Window • ...More than 97% out the poorest of the poor live in the Window. • ...On average, people living in the 10/40 Window exist on less than $500 per person per year. http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~samkong/mission/1040.php The Challenge • Throwing a stone in a pond ripples that pond only. To impact another means moving out of your comfort zone. • Languages must be learned • Cultures must be learned • Non-verbal communication • Literates have to learn how to communicate with oral culture peoples. Translation Needs • There are 6,913 languages cataloged in the world. • To learn a language that has not been reduced to writing, develop a system, teach it to the people, translate and present a Bible takes 20-30 years depending on the language. • Over 2,700 languages have been identified as priority languages and it is estimated that it will take 287 years to get them a Bible. • Oral methods are essential for reaching 70% of the unreached peoples of the world today. It’s not wrong, it’s not stupid, it’s just different! • Ethnocentrism – is the practice of judging the values, languages, standards, characteristics, etc. of another culture against one’s home culture. – The other culture is usually seen as inferior. – Intercultural workers should recognize their own ethnocentric tendencies. – The ugly American is alive and well! Gestures • Okay! • Victory or peace • Pointing with index finger • How tall? • Come here • Giving the back • Pointing with feet The twelve signal systems • Verbal – speech • Kinesics – body motions, • Written – symbols facial expressions, posture representing speech • Optical – light and color • Numeric – numbers and • Tactile – touch and the number systems sense of feel • Pictorial – 2 dimensional • Spatial – utilization of representations space • Artifactual – 3 • Temporal – utilization of dimensional time representations and • Olfactory – taste and objects smell • Audio – use of nonverbal sounds and silence CULTURE SHOCK!!! • It is inevitable but is rarely fatal. • Occurs when two or more cultures collide. – Oriental students in Costa Rica. – Hot climate cultures vs. Cold climate cultures. • Learned worldview cues no longer function • Multilevel, multifaceted, & goes both ways. • Many have tried to define but it’s primarily an emotional reaction to a shaken world. Culture Shock Stages • Culture Surprise (Tourist/Honeymoon) – Sights – Sounds – Smells – Money – Customs • Lasts from a few weeks to a few months – How long you will be there – Why you are there Culture Shock Stages • Rejection Stage – Islands of the home culture – “Us” and “We” vs. “Them” and “They.” – Caricature and ridicule of nationals • This stage can last from a few months to a couple of years. It depends on: – How quickly you bond with the culture. – How quickly you learn the language. – How well you can remember why you are there. Culture Shock Stages • Recovery – Cultural assimilation (going native) • Sounds great but not healthy • God made you who you are – Cultural acceptance and adaptation • Bonding with the culture, humor, friends • It’s not wrong, it’s not stupid, it’s just different. – Culture tension/stress • Always on a slow burn. • Nationals are never accepted as equals Culture Shock!!! • Reverse culture shock sets in when you return home. • USA is parents’ home, not the kids’. • Prices, options, waste, wealth. • Priorities and preferences. • Phrases, clothing styles, dangers, etc. • Not fatal either, forewarned is forearmed!
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