Well I think that when it comes to crossing cultural boundaries we need to recognise that culture is really a gift from God. I think about Genesis 1, I believe it’s around the 28th verse, when God tells Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth. I think in terms of being able to do that, it was an idea in the mind of God that as they would subdue the earth and as humanity would grow throughout the earth they’d be going through different climates they’d be going through different regions they’d be having different cultural customs, different languages that would take place and so I believe that culture and the variety of cultures is actually a gift and an idea in the mind of God. When it comes to cultural boundaries we have to recognise that just because a culture is different from you does not mean that is better or worse than your particular culture so you have to develop a posture of humility.
There’s a few things that are pretty important in terms of principles of crossing cultural boundaries. One is that we need to recognise that distance demonises. I think about that African proverb when I saw someone afar I thought that they were a monster, when that person got a little bit closer I thought it was an animal, when they got a little bit closer I was able to make out a man but then when I got face to face I discovered that person was my brother. Distance demonises and you begin to create a context by which you begin to connect with someone that’s different than you. I think we also have to recognise that we have to use difference as a doorway to dialogue so that if I’m different from you it does not mean that I have to be apart from you but it gives me an opportunity to learn from you and we can learn from one other.
And I think that finally we have to do something for justice because you cannot say that you’re very serious about connecting with people of different cultures if you don’t care about the policies and the way in which things are happening in the world that affect them. When people begin to know that you care about them and care about what happens to them it creates a bridge by which you can cross the boundary.