Culture Shock!

If you’ve ever traveled to a different country, one of the things you can’t help but noticing is how the people of that land do things differently. When I traveled to Austria, one of the things I noticed was that people only drove on the main thoroughfares and walked the side streets. I also found out that a lot of the towns only have one or two church buildings, so the different denominations share the same building and schedule their services at differing days/times. How a person is brought up…their manners, the way they dress and even the way they treat others…is determined by the person’s familial, peer and cultural influences. When I went to Italy and experienced my first truly open market, I noticed an older Italian woman having a heated discussion with one of the vendors. I could tell by the tone of her voice and what she was pointing at, that she was trying to negotiate a cheaper price for the Italian leather shoes she was interested in. After what seemed like a long 3 or 4 minutes, she nodded her head, paid the merchant and went on her way, happy with the price that was determined. This really caused me to think about being back in the states and how this would play out in the checkout lane at Wal-Mart. The cashier tells me my total is $120 and I counter with, ‘Really? I don’t think these items are worth $120…maybe $70, but not $120.’ Can’t you just picture the look on her face?

We don’t even need to go outside of the United States to experience cultural differences; just go East or West, North or South and you will find a wide range of differences in attitude and culture…sometimes traveling just across the street can jar our cultural senses…or maybe just to our teenager’s bedrooms!

Today I read 1 Peter 2 where verses 11 & 12 stood out to me…‘Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.’

As Christians, we need to remember that our citizenship…our culture (and that of our children), are not of this world. As Christians, our customs and values should be remarkably different from the world. Christ calls us to act in a way that reflects our heavenly citizenship.. They should be reflected in our words and actions and displayed in our parenting. Sometimes we may feel like we’re not the ‘cool’ parents…or not the ‘in touch’ parents and eyebrows may be raised when we say “no” to inappropriate movies or provocative clothes…but maybe, just maybe, someone will be intrigued by our family’s ‘unusual’ values and culture.

My prayer for me and my family is that as we continue to BLEND our families…we don’t blend in with the ‘culture’ of this world to the point where no one can tell if we’re tourists or locals…

~ V


  1. that is very good Vince. When I went to NYC this summer the most intresting was watching the people. It was very easy to tell the locals from the tourist. I like the New York people and I found out if you need directions or anything just ask a New Yorker. I hope my light shined so they could see Jesus thru me But I never brought up Jesus to anyone. I try to be an example and not just a voice. God needs to use people in a way that is right for them, but we need not to back away from what God wants for us to do. Thank you for your insight and your faith.

  2. Hello?! Where are you two?!

    Vince...? Lisa...? Anyone...?


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