I borrowed a copy of David Hasselgrave's "Communicating Christ Cross-Culturally" from Morling College this evening to go over his "seven dimensions" of cross cultural communication again.
It is one thing to identify gaps between church cultures and host cultures, its another thing entirely to analyze precisely where those gaps are largest. I find Hasselgrave's schema is a useful tool in that respect. So without further adieu the seven dimensions are:
- Worldviews – ways of perceiving the world
- Cognitive processes – ways of thinking
- Linguistic forms – ways of expressing ideas
- Behavioral patterns – ways of acting
- Social structures – ways of interacting
- Media influence - ways of channeling the message
- Motivational resources – ways of deciding
Now, for a few comments.
- Western cultural homogeneity is dead. And ethnicity is not the only fault line which cultural gaps can arise along. News flash – it can arise between whites too!
- Worldview is one of the fault lines that cultural gaps can arise along. Westerners who have internalized multiculturalism, who have been influenced by eastern and global perspectives, through travel of whatever, may come to perceive the world significantly differently from their more parochial kin.
- Cognitive processes can clearly be effected by educational level.
- Linguistic processes are obviously important where conversation partners speak different languages. But consider, how might communication be impacted where English is a second language and not the heart language for one of the partners in a conversation. And consider differences in language between subcultures. This matters more than we often realize.
- Would you channel messages differently to bloggers than to the disconnected? Can churches afford to ignore the preferred message dissemination styles of youth if they wish to communicate effectively with youth?
- If you mismatch the message with people's ways of deciding you are not going to convince anyone real quick are you? What one person finds authoritative and compelling may not be as well received by someone in a different subculture.
These are just a few things to get people thinking. Can you think of more? How might this effect the way we mentor new Christians and interested enquirers?