Some like it hot!

serving foodShane Bennett of the Mission Catalyst blog has written the following post about the vast differences that exist between hot and cold cultural values to help us relate to Muslims the Jesus way.

Shane Bennett wrote:

“My name is Khalid! If you need anything, ANYTHING, you ask me!” Hand outstretched. Six two frame barreling down the sidewalk! If I’d run and hid, you wouldn’t have blamed me! But I stood my ground. I’d seen this before and loved what I guessed was going on. 

Khalid, our next door neighbor at our new house in England, was acting on his deep Pakistani value for hospitality. His wife did the same when she sent over a steaming bowl of delicious curry a few hours later. 

Hospitality is one of a suite of values that characterize “hot” cultures. In her accessible book, Foreign to Familiar, Sarah Lanier brilliantly illuminates basic differences between cultures she describes as “hot” or “cold.” Most Muslim cultures are hot, while my culture, and likely yours, is cold. Neither is better than the other, but the differences can sometimes be maddening. They can also be delightful. 

If you’re going to connect with Muslims, familiarity with hot culture values, especially relative to your cold culture values, will help. Hot culture people tend to be relationally, rather than time, motivated; group oriented and inclusive, and spontaneously hospitable. (Quick overview here.) 

In concrete terms: Your new Muslim friend will show up for dinner an hour late with three unexpected guests and a few kids! But she’ll also bring a present. And she’ll show up unannounced at 1.30pm the next day! She’ll be confused and question the depth of your friendship if you don’t do the same. 

These things vary greatly culture to culture and relative to time immigrants have lived in host cultures, but navigating them is part of the joy of cross-cultural friendships. 

Posted by permission of Mission Catalyst.

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