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Giving Honor: A Key to Fruitful Cross-Cultural Partnerships

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This presentation by Werner Mischke was given as a webinar with visionSynergy on 16 November 2017. Werner brings to the surface the problem of honor competition, rivalry, and honor status in the New Testament church. He considers how this applies to global Christian mission. He proposes as a solution: the Spirit-empowered solution of “giving honor” (Rom 12:10; 1 Cor 12:21–26) across cultures and across different levels of social status. The material explores various ways that “giving honor” can help make our own networks or partnerships more healthy relationally—and more fruitful for the gospel. A strong emphasis is given to the practice of empathic listening—“listening with your heart”.

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Giving Honor: A Key to Fruitful Cross-Cultural Partnerships

  1. 1. A Key to Fruitful 
 Cross-Cultural Partnerships Giving Honor Werner Mischke / Mission ONE
 werner@mission1.org
  2. 2. ©2017 Mission ONE / Created by Werner Mischke / werner@mission1.org GIVING HONOR—A KEY TO FRUITFUL CROSS-CULTURAL PARTNERSHIPS OVERVIEW PROBLEMa) RIVALRY IN THE N.T. WORLD. 
 Honor competition and rivalry was a major part of the culture of the New Testament world. b) RIVALRY TODAY. What does rivalry and honor competition look like in networks or cross-cultural partnerships today?
  3. 3. ©2017 Mission ONE / Created by Werner Mischke / werner@mission1.org GIVING HONOR—A KEY TO FRUITFUL CROSS-CULTURAL PARTNERSHIPS OVERVIEW 2 SOLUTIONa) BEING LIKE JESUS—GIVING HONOR. 
 Jesus and Paul teach that serving and giving honor undermine rivalry and 
 honor competition. b) GIVING HONOR—TODAY. What does “giving honor” look like in networks or cross-cultural partnerships today? It looks like empathic listening.
  4. 4. 1a RIVALRY IN THE 
 NEW TESTAMENT WORLD P R O B L E M
  5. 5. 1a RIVALRY IN THE N.T. WORLD: 
 Honor competition and rivalry was 
 a major cultural feature of the 
 New Testament world. P R O B L E M
  6. 6. ©2017 Mission ONE / Created by Werner Mischke / werner@mission1.org R I VA L RY HONOR COMPETITION
  7. 7. ©2017 Mission ONE / Created by Werner Mischke / werner@mission1.org DEFAULT CULTURE OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE HONOR COMPETITION
  8. 8. ©2017 Mission ONE / Created by Werner Mischke / werner@mission1.org LOVE OF HONOR DEFAULT CULTURE OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE “philotimia”
  9. 9. And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, ‘Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.’ ‘‘ ’’–Mark 10:36–37 ESV LOVE OF HONOR
  10. 10. ©2017 Mission ONE / Created by Werner Mischke / werner@mission1.org CHALLENGE&RIPOSTE: “social game of push-and-shove”
 DEFAULT CULTURE OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE
  11. 11. And they came to Capernaum. And when he 
 was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you discussing on the way?’ But they kept silent, 
 for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. ‘‘ –Mark 9:33–34 ESV CHALLENGE&RIPOSTE: “social game of push-and-shove”
  12. 12. ©2017 Mission ONE / Created by Werner Mischke / werner@mission1.org IMAGEOFLIMITEDGOOD “Win-Lose” / everything of value in short supply DEFAULT CULTURE OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE
  13. 13. “one person’s superiority means that another is comparatively demeaned.” IMAGEOFLIMITEDGOOD “Win-Lose” / anything of value in short supply
  14. 14. ©2017 Mission ONE / Created by Werner Mischke / werner@mission1.org “BOASTING” DEFAULT CULTURE OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE
  15. 15. GIVING HONOR—A KEY TO FRUITFUL CROSS-CULTURAL PARTNERSHIPS Paul lived in a face-to-
 face society where self- advertisement [boasting], rivalry, and public competition were a perpetual cause of 
 tension in every day life. … ‘‘ –James M. G. Barclay: Paul and the Gift
  16. 16. GIVING HONOR—A KEY TO FRUITFUL CROSS-CULTURAL PARTNERSHIPS As recent research has emphasized, almost all social relations in Paul’s cultural context were both ordered and threatened by the competition for honor. In the absence of “objective” measures of quality (such as educational qualifications), a person’s worth was heavily dependent on his public reputation, a “dignity” energetically claimed and fiercely defended. … ‘‘
  17. 17. GIVING HONOR—A KEY TO FRUITFUL CROSS-CULTURAL PARTNERSHIPS The pursuit or defense of honor was, many ancient commentators claimed, the chief motivating force for action: “by nature 
 we yearn and hunger for honor, and once we have glimpsed, as it were, some part of its radiance, there is nothing we are not prepared to bear and suffer in order to secure it” (Cicero, Tusc. 2.24.58). … ‘‘
  18. 18. GIVING HONOR—A KEY TO FRUITFUL CROSS-CULTURAL PARTNERSHIPS And challenge was, indeed, the very essence of this culture. Honor was derived from comparison, from placing oneself (or being placed by others) higher on some hierarchical scale, in which 
 one person’s superiority means that another is comparatively demeaned. This made honor ever the subject of contest: indeed, the ordeal or test was the very arena in which honor was proved. ‘‘
  19. 19. GIVING HONOR—A KEY TO FRUITFUL CROSS-CULTURAL PARTNERSHIPS In this environment, every claim to honor [boast] was a real or potential provocation, and every challenge required an active riposte. Honor was a precious but unstable commodity, requiring active promotion [boasting] and persistent demonstration in a court of opinion that continually looked on with a critical eye. ’’James M. G. Barclay, PhD: Paul and the Gift,
 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2015), 433-4. ‘‘
  20. 20. ©2017 Mission ONE / Created by Werner Mischke / werner@mission1.org “...it is ordinarily overlooked that Rome is the boasting champion of the ancient world, filled with honorific monuments and celebrations of imperial glory.” Robert Jewett: Romans: A Commentary (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007), 295–6.
  21. 21. GIVING HONOR—A KEY TO FRUITFUL CROSS-CULTURAL PARTNERSHIPS ‘‘ ’’Ephesians 2:8–9 ESV For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
  22. 22. GIVING HONOR—A KEY TO FRUITFUL CROSS-CULTURAL PARTNERSHIPS ‘‘ ’’Galatians 6:14 ESV But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
  23. 23. GIVING HONOR—A KEY TO FRUITFUL CROSS-CULTURAL PARTNERSHIPS You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law.‘‘ ’’Romans 2:23 ESV
  24. 24. GIVING HONOR—A KEY TO FRUITFUL CROSS-CULTURAL PARTNERSHIPS so that, as it is written, 
 ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’‘‘ ’’1 Corinthians 1:31 ESV
  25. 25. ©2017 Mission ONE / Created by Werner Mischke / werner@mission1.org We do NOT mean to suggest … that our Christian networks and partnerships around the world have 
 the same degree of boasting, rivalry, 
 or honor competition that plagued 
 the New Testament church in 
 the Roman Empire.
  26. 26. ©2017 Mission ONE / Created by Werner Mischke / werner@mission1.org We DO mean to convey: … that by bringing to the surface 
 the issue of honor status and 
 the problem of honor competition 
 in the New Testament church—
 along with the specific solutions provided by Jesus and Paul …
  27. 27. ©2017 Mission ONE / Created by Werner Mischke / werner@mission1.org We DO mean to convey: … we really can achieve greater unity 
 in our mission teams, networks, and
 cross-cultural partnerships—for greater fruitfulness in God’s kingdom.
  28. 28. 1a RIVALRY IN THE 
 NEW TESTAMENT WORLD P R O B L E M
  29. 29. ©2017 Mission ONE / Created by Werner Mischke / werner@mission1.org 1b RIVALRY TODAY P R O B L E M
  30. 30. ©2017 Mission ONE / Created by Werner Mischke / werner@mission1.org 1b RIVALRY TODAY
 What might rivalry and honor competition look like in networks or cross-cultural partnerships today? P R O B L E M
  31. 31. GIVING HONOR—A KEY TO FRUITFUL CROSS-CULTURAL PARTNERSHIPS RIVALRY TODAY: The levels of honor status (often unstated) in a mission team, network, or partnership may vary according to multiple IDENTITY FACTORS: • age — young, middle age, old • gender — male or female • race — Arab, East Asian, South Asian, Anglo-European, African, Latino, native/indigenous • tribe — minority tribe vs majority tribe • caste — untouchables, lower, mid-level, upper
  32. 32. GIVING HONOR—A KEY TO FRUITFUL CROSS-CULTURAL PARTNERSHIPS MORE IDENTITY FACTORS: • family / kinship — orphan, ‘low’ family, well-known family • economic well being — poor (lower class), middle class, upper class, nobility • national identity — Western vs Eastern & “Global South”;American vs any other • education — little, some college, advanced degrees
  33. 33. GIVING HONOR—A KEY TO FRUITFUL CROSS-CULTURAL PARTNERSHIPS What *might* rivalry (honor competition) look like today? • Possible resentment or cynicism—when leaders are chosen based on default cultural values rather than biblical servanthood / competence. • Voices of qualified persons may be marginalized in decision- making. • Doubts about fairness: Who will lead? Who is rewarded? Whose success will be celebrated?
  34. 34. GIVING HONOR—A KEY TO FRUITFUL CROSS-CULTURAL PARTNERSHIPS We shouldn’t think of rivalry as a problem that afflicts some peoples but not others. Rivalry is a human issue.
  35. 35. GIVING HONOR—A KEY TO FRUITFUL CROSS-CULTURAL PARTNERSHIPS Quick poll #1
  36. 36. ©2017 Mission ONE / Created by Werner Mischke / werner@mission1.org 1. age 2. gender 3. race 4. tribe 5. caste 6. family / kinship 7. economic well being 8. national identity 9. education Poll: What do you think are the top three factors which influence levels of honor status in your mission team, network, or partnership? (pick three)
  37. 37. ©2017 Mission ONE / Created by Werner Mischke / werner@mission1.org GIVING HONOR—A KEY TO FRUITFUL CROSS-CULTURAL PARTNERSHIPS OVERVIEW PROBLEMa) RIVALRY IN THE N.T. WORLD. 
 Honor competition and rivalry was a major part of the culture of the New Testament world. b) RIVALRY TODAY. What does rivalry and honor competition look like in networks or cross-cultural partnerships today?
  38. 38. ©2017 Mission ONE / Created by Werner Mischke / werner@mission1.org GIVING HONOR—A KEY TO FRUITFUL CROSS-CULTURAL PARTNERSHIPS OVERVIEW 2 SOLUTIONa) BEING LIKE JESUS—GIVING HONOR. 
 Jesus and Paul teach that serving and giving honor undermine rivalry and 
 honor competition. b) GIVING HONOR—TODAY. What does “giving honor” look like in networks or cross-cultural partnerships today? It looks like empathic listening.
  39. 39. 2a S O L U T I O N BEING LIKE JESUS: GIVING HONOR
  40. 40. S O L U T I O N Jesus and Paul teach that serving and giving honor undermine rivalry and honor competition. BEING LIKE JESUS: GIVING HONOR
  41. 41. LOVE OF HONORAnd he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, ‘Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.’ ‘‘ ’’–Mark 10:36–37 ESV BEING LIKE JESUS
  42. 42. And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. ‘‘ –Mark 10:36–37 ESV LOVE OF HONORBEING LIKE JESUS
  43. 43. But it shall not be so among you. 
 But whoever would be great 
 among you must be your servant‘‘ –Mark 10:42–43 ESV ’’ LOVE OF HONORBEING LIKE JESUS
  44. 44. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’‘‘ –Mark 10:42–43, 45 ESV ’’ LOVE OF HONORBEING LIKE JESUS
  45. 45. JESUS IS TEACHING… Great honor is accessible to everyone— regardless of honor status, gender, age, 
 race or tribe or caste, family background, economic position, nationality, or education. Every believer can gain honor by being a humble servant in relationship with God.
  46. 46. Jesus is ‘democratizing honor’—
 making accessible to everyone—
 the availability of honor in 
 the kingdom of God.
  47. 47. By knowing Christ the King 
 and gaining honor through serving,
 the problem of honor competition and rivalry—is undermined.
  48. 48. What about Paul? How does Paul address 
 rivalry and honor competition 
 in the body of Christ?
  49. 49. What about Paul? He describes the antithesis 
 of rivalry—what a unified 
 body of Christ looks like. 1 Corinthians 12:21-26 / Romans 12:10
  50. 50. The eye cannot say to the hand, 
 ‘I have no need of you,’ 
 nor again the head to the feet, 
 ‘I have no need of you.’ 1 CORINTHIANS 12:21-26 ‘‘ ’’
  51. 51. On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow 
 the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty,
 which our more presentable 
 parts do not require. 1 CORINTHIANS 12:21-26 ‘‘
  52. 52. But God has so composed the body, 
 giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, 
 but that the members may have the 
 same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; 
 if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 1 CORINTHIANS 12:21-26 ‘‘
  53. 53. Love one another 
 with brotherly affection. 
 Outdo one another in 
 showing honor. ROMANS 12:10 ‘‘ ’’
  54. 54. ©2017 Mission ONE / Created by Werner Mischke / werner@mission1.org What principle does 
 Paul put forth as a means 
 for creating unity? 1 CORINTHIANS 12:21-26 / ROMANS 12:10
  55. 55. ©2017 Mission ONE / Created by Werner Mischke / werner@mission1.org Unity in the body of Christ happens in proportion to the way the so-called strong and honorable demonstrate honor and respect toward the 
 so-called weak and less honorable. –The Global Gospel, p. 318 P R I N C I P L E 1 CORINTHIANS 12:21-26 / ROMANS 12:10
  56. 56. ©2017 Mission ONE / Created by Werner Mischke / werner@mission1.org Supernatural unity happens as 
 we intentionally show honor 
 to those who seem to have less honor in the Body of Christ. 1 CORINTHIANS 12:21-26 / ROMANS 12:10 P R I N C I P L E
  57. 57. This is what Jesus did. Giving honor to those who lack it:
  58. 58. BEING LIKE JESUS: GIVING HONOR
  59. 59. “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.” (1 Tim 5:17 ESV) A little nuance … Levels of honor status in a 
 Christian community or network may vary 
 according to spiritual factors:
  60. 60. ‣ “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed (Rom 13:7 ESV) ‣ “Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. 
 Fear God. Honor the emperor” (1 Pet 2:17 ESV) Moreover, the Bible does not call us to withhold honor from people who may deserve it according to political, traditional, or cultural standards:
  61. 61. ©2017 Mission ONE / Created by Werner Mischke / werner@mission1.org Quick poll #2 GIVING HONOR: A KEY TO FRUITFUL CROSS-CULTURAL PARTNERSHIPS
  62. 62. ©2017 Mission ONE / Created by Werner Mischke / werner@mission1.org POLL: To what extent does your ministry team, network, or partnership have a culture that values “GIVING HONOR”? (Results shown in aggregate). 1. Not sure 2. Low value  3. Moderate value 4. High value 5. Very high value
  63. 63. The only kind of honor competition befitting Christians is when they … ‘Outdo one another in showing honor’ 
 (Rom 12:10). –The Global Gospel, p. 111 ‘‘ ’’
  64. 64. What about the obstacles ‣ emotional ‣ spiritual ‣ cultural ?
  65. 65. Believers are able to more easily 
 give honor to those who lack it, when they themselves have shame resilience. Shame resilience comes from a 
 deep awareness of one’s own honor 
 in relationship with God the Father 
 through Jesus Christ.
  66. 66. –Romans 8:14–16 ESV ‘‘ ’’ For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. … you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, 
 by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ 
 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
  67. 67. –John 1:12 ESV ‘‘But to all who did receive him, 
 who believed in his name, 
 he gave the right to become 
 children of God. ’’
  68. 68. If we take seriously the claims of 
 Scripture, we must conclude that God 
 offers us a surplus of regal honor 
 in relationship to our Lord Jesus Christ 
 which is nothing short of astounding.
  69. 69. BEING LIKE JESUS: GIVING HONOR
  70. 70. ©2017 Mission ONE / Created by Werner Mischke / werner@mission1.org GIVING HONOR—A KEY TO FRUITFUL CROSS-CULTURAL PARTNERSHIPS OVERVIEW 2 SOLUTIONa) BEING LIKE JESUS—GIVING HONOR. 
 Jesus and Paul teach that serving and giving honor undermine rivalry and 
 honor competition. b) GIVING HONOR—TODAY. What does “giving honor” look like in networks or cross-cultural partnerships today? It looks like empathic listening.
  71. 71. S O L U T I O N What does “giving honor” look like today 
 in networks or cross-cultural partnerships? GIVING HONOR
  72. 72. On the one hand, it looks different in every culture. “giving honor”
  73. 73. On the other hand, there 
 is a good way to show honor that’s common to 
 all cultures. “giving honor”
  74. 74. Listening.
  75. 75. Levels of listening I only appear to be listening. 
 I’m thinking about something else. My mind and heart are elsewhere. And the person I’m talking to 
 knows it. 1
  76. 76. Levels of listening I listen in order to be heard. I’m thinking about what I will say next. 
 I want to make a good impression by what I say. I may gain something valuable as a result. 2
  77. 77. Levels of listening I listen for the information. 
 I need the knowledge to be effective in my job, family, relationships, or ministry.3
  78. 78. Levels of listening I listen to understand. I repeat using many of the same words 
 I have heard—so that the person knows I understand him or her. 
 I want to reflect what the person is thinking. 4
  79. 79. Levels of listening I listen to understand with feeling. I interpret what I have heard using my own words, and 
 I try to use the appropriate emotion. I want to reflect what the person both thinks and feels. 5
  80. 80. Empathic listening I listen to understand with feeling. Listening with your heart 5
  81. 81. … let every person be quick to hear, 
 slow to speak … ‘‘ ’’ –James 1:19 ESV
  82. 82. Empathic
 listening Giving
 honor
  83. 83. LET’S EXAMINE ONE MORE THING: What if we listen empathically 
 with an honor-shame filter?
  84. 84. GIVING HONOR: 
 A listening guide 
 through honor-shame…
 to understand rivalry and defuse conflict The Honor/Shame Wheel The Global Gospel, p.80
  85. 85. KEY QUESTION:
 What honor-shame issue may be involved in the particular rivalry or conflict? GIVING HONOR: 
 A listening guide 
 through honor-shame…
 to understand rivalry and defuse conflict
  86. 86. GIVING HONOR: 
 A listening guide 
 through honor-shame…
 to understand rivalry and defuse conflict Love of honor • Has someone been insulted? 
 Is there a loss of honor? • Does their shame need to be covered? Their honor restored? • Is the community gaining or losing honor?
  87. 87. GIVING HONOR: 
 A listening guide 
 through honor-shame…
 to understand rivalry and defuse conflict Two sources of honor: ascribed and achieved Is there a default cultural standard of ascribed honor (based on age, family, title, etc) that conflicts with a standard solely based on achieved honor?
  88. 88. GIVING HONOR: 
 A listening guide 
 through honor-shame…
 to understand rivalry and defuse conflict Image of limited good • Has someone in the group gained honor, making another person feel demeaned? • Is recognition given fairly? • Is the person aggrieved somehow excluded?
  89. 89. GIVING HONOR: 
 A listening guide 
 through honor-shame…
 to understand rivalry and defuse conflict The Honor/Shame Wheel The Global Gospel, p.80
  90. 90. ©2017 Mission ONE / Created by Werner Mischke / werner@mission1.org GIVING HONOR—A KEY TO FRUITFUL CROSS-CULTURAL PARTNERSHIPS OVERVIEW 2 SOLUTIONa) BEING LIKE JESUS—GIVING HONOR. 
 Jesus and Paul teach that serving and giving honor undermine rivalry and 
 honor competition. b) GIVING HONOR—TODAY. What does “giving honor” look like in networks or cross-cultural partnerships today? It looks like empathic listening.
  91. 91. To what extent do you have a 
 culture of giving honor 
 in your ministry team, network, 
 or partnership?
  92. 92. BURST GROUP: Honor-Shame Principles for Cross-Cultural Partnering and Leadership November 16, 17, 20, 21, 22 Synergy Commons / synergycommons.net You’re invited!
  93. 93. BURST GROUP: Honor-Shame Principles for Cross-Cultural Partnering and Leadership What does an honorable leader look like in your cultural/national context? How might someone like this “give honor” to others in a culturally appropriate way? DAY 1
  94. 94. GIVING HONOR: A Key to Fruitful Cross-Cultural Partnerships Thank you Werner Mischke / Mission ONE
 werner@mission1.org

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