Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Your friendly neighborhood anthropologist

The new term started at Rockbridge Seminary last Tuesday, and yours truly went out on a limb by selecting "Understanding Other Cultures". My thoughts were that maybe it would give me a new set of "eyes" to see the community here with. Here's the course description.

Course Description
Develop skill sets to interpret a different cultural context and to create strategies that build bridges to that community. Emphasis will be given to building understanding and discernment for persons of different cultural, social, and religious backgrounds.

The course is taught during an eight-week term that includes a course introduction week, six Learning Units, and a learning evaluation week. All units are designed to help the learner fulfill the learning objectives of the course. Learning units may include lecture and research materials, outside reading, learning community discussion, and church-based assignments. The professor serves as a ministry learning mentor, providing almost daily interaction and facilitation among the learners.

Course Competency
This course will help you develop the following ministry competency:

Respects persons of different cultural, social and religious backgrounds. (#34 on Rockbridge Seminary’s list of 35 Ministry Competencies)

Course Goal and Indictors
As a result of completing this course, you will gain skill sets to help you understand persons of different cultural, social, and religious backgrounds. To demonstrate learning, you will:

1. Use six proven anthropological tools to understand another person or group of persons
2. Apply the use of these anthropological tools to a cross-cultural evangelism context
3. Identify a cross-cultural people group that God is calling you to understand
4. Develop approaches for effective intercultural communication
5. Identify challenges related to cross-cultural communication and hermeneutics
6. Analyze your verbal communication style and how it can influence cross-cultural communication
7. Participate in an online learning community of fellow students that discusses cross-cultural ministry
8. Probing the wisdom and experience of a mentor related to understanding other cultures
9. Assess at the conclusion of this course your continued learning needs related to understanding other cultures

I'm really not sure if it is going to be immediately applicable, but I definitely felt that this was the course I should take. I was bummed to find out that anthropologists don't get to dress like Indiana Jones.

Has anyone approached their community in this way? I know Rick Warren went door to door as he developed "Saddleback Sam" - the profile for who they targeted. Anyone else?

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