Dave Gullett

a miscellanea

Values

What do you value in life? What do you really value? And are you really willing to admit your values and submit them to anothers scrutiny? Or to the scrutiny of the Word of God? As American Christians we are quick to proclaim that we are all about values. We support “family values”, “Christian values”, “American values”, Republican values” or “Democrat values”. Sometimes we even say we support “Biblical values” However, more than what we say, what values do we really value? And for those of us living in another culture the bigger question is “How can we live as unobtusively as possible in a land with glaringly different values?” How can we not offend? How can we learn not to be offended ourselves? As Americans we value things like practicality, effieciency personal needs, change, time, equality, individualism, competition and informality.. Indonesians, in contrast, tend to value idealism, human interaction, rank and status, group welfare, cooperation, and formality. They value harmony, respect, fate, ritual and form, knowing ones place, community, kinship and interdependence. And they value politeness. Above fairness. Above justice. Above honesty. Above everything. While one could weigh Indonesian (and indeed American) values against Scripture, they are still their values, and are an integral part of their culture. So as guest we are not here to change their values, we are here to conform to them, we must learn to live in the world they live in…if we truly desire to speak into their lives. And that, of course, is why we are here.