noun cul·ture \ˈkəl-chər\
the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group; also : the characteristic features of everyday existence (such as diversions or a way of life) shared by people in a place or time popular culture, Southern culture
the set of values, conventions, or social practices associated with a particular field, activity, or societal characteristic studying the effect of computers on print culture,Changing the culture of materialism will take time … — Peggy O’Mara
One of our first training modules is titled “Culture and Language Acquisition”. As such, we have been spending a lot of time reading on the culture in Papua New Guinea, and on transitioning into village life. An important reason to study the local culture is that we want to make sure to be sensitive to cultural preferences as we live with the our friends in the tribe. But more important even than that, is that we need to understand the worldview and finer workings of our friends’ belief system so that we can clearly present the Good News and address any areas where their thinking is not biblical.
Working through these things has also been helpful in viewing ourselves more clearly. We are so used to our “characteristic features of everyday existence”, that it is easy to think of that as ‘normal’ and all other cultures as strange… In reality, our culture is just one of many, and it is good to hold less tightly to our own way of doing things. As believers, we should also be more careful to examine our lives for any remaining sins that are yet to be rooted out. Cultural ways of thinking may not always be biblical.
We are so thankful that God has provided us with so many resources (especially the human ones!) to help us think through these things before we even get to PNG.